Who Was Sir John Templeton?

Sir John Templeton was regarded as a contrarian investor and mutual fund manager who founded the Templeton Growth Fund in 1954. Templeton was an avid traveler and is known for his global investments.

The John Templeton Foundation, founded in 1987, supports efforts to advance human well-being through scientific research and scholarship. Sir John Templeton died on July 8, 2008.

Key Takeaways

  • Sir John Templeton launched the Templeton Growth Fund in 1954.
  • Templeton founded the John Templeton Foundation to encourage scholars across fields of science, theology, and philosophy.
  • He provided the endowment of Templeton College, a business and management school at Oxford University.
  • Sir John Templeton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1987 for his philanthropy.

Early Life and Education

John Marks Templeton was born on Nov. 29, 1912, in Winchester, Tennessee. He graduated from Yale University in 1934 and was named a Rhodes Scholar to the Balliol College at Oxford University, where he graduated with a degree in law in 1936.

Templeton began his career on Wall Street in 1938. He is the author of 19 books including The Templeton Plan: 21 Steps to Success and Real Happiness and Discovering the Laws of Life.

Templeton Growth Fund

As a contrarian investor, Sir John Templeton identified value stocks regardless of overall trends in a market. He purposefully sought out stocks that had been abandoned or overlooked by investors. Templeton saw a troubled business as an opportunity for growth. He also looked for popularly overvalued assets and took investment positions to take advantage of their eventual fall.

An avid young traveler, visiting 35 countries, Templeton believed that overseas markets offered as much opportunity as the U.S. markets. Templeton preferred nations with fewer regulatory obstacles and low inflation, and he saw the benefits of diversifying outside of America.

In 1940, Templeton bought a small investment firm that became the early foundation of his empire. He founded the Templeton Growth Fund in 1954 which would average 15% returns per year for 38 years. A pioneer of emerging market investing in the 1960s, he was one of the first to invest in the Japanese market. Money magazine named him "arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century." Templeton took his company public in 1959, managing $66 million, and added five additional funds in sectors such as nuclear energy, chemicals, and electronics. Sir John Templeton sold his company to Franklin Resources in 1992 for $913 million.

John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation, established in 1987, honors Templeton's profound respect for learning, a belief in the centrality of spiritual life, and a higher purpose beyond profit for profit’s sake. The foundation funds projects on subjects ranging from black holes and evolution to creativity, forgiveness, and free will.

The annual Templeton Prize honors individuals whose exemplary achievements advance Sir John Templeton's philanthropic vision. Candidates include opinion leaders who have used their public voice to encourage greater curiosity, religious leaders who have created new norms, standards, and expectations within their religious communities, or scientists whose body of original scientific research has shed new light on philosophical and theological questions.

Sir John Templeton's faith influences the Foundation. He has said, "spiritual wealth is vastly more important than monetary wealth."

Who Has Received the Templeton Prize?

Primatologist, conservationist, and environmentalist, Jane Goodall won the 2021 Templeton Prize,

What Is the "Templeton Touch"?

Described by William Proctor and Scott Philips, The Templeton Touch details the attributes of Templeton that are considered "The Templeton Touch": his global focus, curiosity, future-mindedness, personal touch with clients, and his willingness to take reasonable risks.

How Has Faith Influenced Sir John Templeton?

Templeton was a deeply spiritual, although unorthodox, individual. He lived a life firmly rooted in the Christian traditions of modesty and charity. His love of science and his God led him to form his foundation in 1987 on the basis that mutual dialogue might enrich the understanding of both.

The Bottom Line

Sir John Templeton is a noted global investor and contrarian thinker. His Templeton Growth Fund was the first to recognize untapped investments outside of the United States. A renowned author and philanthropist, the John Templeton Foundation has continued after his death.

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  2. Seeking Alpha. "Investment Wisdom from the Original Global Guru."

  3. Templeton.org. "Sir John Templeton 1912-2008."

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