Franklin Resources, Inc., commonly known as Franklin Templeton, stands as an American multinational holding company rooted in the world of finance. Founded in New York City in 1947 as Franklin Distributors, Inc., its dedication to nurturing wealth reflects the ideals of the iconic Benjamin Franklin, in whose honor the company is named. Franklin Templeton is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BEN.
Franklin Templeton traces its origins to the vision of Rupert H. Johnson Sr., who established the company amidst the bustling financial hub of Wall Street. The choice of Benjamin Franklin as its namesake embodies the company’s commitment to frugality and prudence in saving and investing. Under the leadership of Rupert Sr.’s son, Charles B. Johnson (Charlie), who assumed the role of president and CEO at a young age in 1957, the company embarked on a journey that saw it grow from managing $2.5 million in assets to a financial powerhouse.
The company’s ascent included going public in 1971, relocating its headquarters from New York to San Mateo, California in 1973, and a series of strategic acquisitions. Notably, the Franklin Money Fund achieved significant growth in 1979, becoming the company’s first billion-dollar fund. The 1980s witnessed exponential expansion, with total assets under management consistently doubling year after year. By 1986, the company’s stock was traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and international offices were established, beginning with Taiwan in 1986. In 1988, Franklin acquired L.F. Rothschild Fund Management Company.
Templeton Merger and Beyond
A pivotal moment occurred in October 1992 when Franklin acquired Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger Ltd., resulting in the amalgamation of identities into Franklin Templeton. The firm continued to evolve, with the integration of Heine Securities Corporation in 1996 and the acquisition of Bissett Funds in 2000 to bolster its presence in Canada. Tragically, the firm’s New York office in Two World Trade Center was significantly impacted during the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Broad Spectrum of Expertise
Franklin Templeton’s expertise spans a diverse range of asset classes, offering products under various brand names, including Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, and Fiduciary. The company is renowned for its bond funds under the Franklin brand, international funds under the Templeton brand, and value funds under the Mutual Series brand.
The firm’s excellence in the financial industry received accolades, including being ranked 445th in the Fortune 500 in April 2007. USA Today recognized BEN stock as the top stock pick for the last 25 years, with an impressive 64,224% return since 1982. Franklin Resources, Inc. managed over $570 billion in total assets worldwide as of July 31, 2008, and was hailed as the “King of the Decade” among fund families by Barron’s Magazine for the ten-year period ending in 2008.
Leadership Transition and Expansion
Charles Johnson retired as chairman in 2013, with his son Greg Johnson taking the helm as chairman of the board, CEO, and president. In 2019, the firm expanded its portfolio by acquiring Benefit Street Partners. In 2020, Jennifer M. Johnson assumed the roles of CEO and President, while Greg Johnson became Executive Chairman. The acquisition of Legg Mason, Inc. in July 2020 propelled Franklin Templeton into the ranks of the world’s largest independent global investment managers, overseeing $1.4 trillion in assets under management (AUM).
Continued Growth and Innovation
Franklin Templeton’s commitment to growth continued with the acquisition of Lexington Partners in 2021 and O’Shaughnessy Asset Management in 2022. The firm further expanded its reach with the acquisition of Alcentra from BNY Mellon Investment Management in 2022. In 2023, Franklin Templeton announced its acquisition of Putnam Investments, reinforcing its position as a leader in the financial industry.
Contributions to Investment Landscape
With 455 open-ended mutual funds, seven closed-end funds, and a growing array of ETFs, Franklin Templeton has played a significant role in shaping the investment landscape. The company’s pioneering spirit and dedication to financial prudence remain steadfast, echoing the enduring wisdom of Benjamin Franklin himself.
In a move reflecting its forward-thinking approach, Franklin Templeton introduced the first “tokenized” US mutual fund, utilizing blockchain technology to revolutionize transaction processing and share ownership tracking. This innovative approach aims to enhance efficiency and reduce fees, marking a significant step in the evolution of financial services.
Building a Wealth Legacy
Franklin Templeton’s rich history and ongoing commitment to financial excellence solidify its place as a prominent player in the world of investments. As it continues to adapt and innovate, the company remains dedicated to building and preserving wealth for generations to come.