Franklin Templeton has grown from being recognised as one of the best small companies in America to being considered a premier global investment management organisation. We offer clients a valuable perspective shaped by our six decades of experience, investment expertise and growing global reach.

The company was founded in 1947 in New York by Rupert H. Johnson, Sr., who ran a successful retail brokerage firm from an office on Wall Street. He named the company for US founding father Benjamin Franklin because Franklin epitomized the ideas of frugality and prudence when it came to saving and investing. The company's first line of mutual funds, Franklin Custodian Funds, was a series of conservatively managed equity and bond funds designed to appeal to most investors.

Photo of Rupert H. Johnson.

After Rupert Sr. retired, his son, Charles B. Johnson (Charlie), took over as president and chief executive officer in 1957 at age 24. There were only a handful of employees at that time and the funds had total assets under management of US$2.5 million. Franklin was swimming against the tide because insurance companies dominated the middle class investing markets, but Charlie was convinced that he had a good story to tell.

Photo of Charles B. Johnson.

By the early 1960s Charlie and his team's persistence was paying off and the company was growing albeit slowly. It was a struggle to keep up with the day-to-day demands of the business and Charlie continued to wear many hats-mutual fund manager, wholesaler, accountant. Rupert Johnson, Jr., Charlie's brother, joined the company in 1965 and also took on multiple roles. A decade of extreme bull and bear cycles, the 1960s was an exciting time to be in the industry.

Franklin went public in 1971, which gave Charlie and team the capital needed to grow the business and position it for the future. In 1973, the company acquired Winfield & Company, a San Mateo, California-based investment firm, and moved Franklin's offices from New York to California. The combined organization had close to US$250 million in assets under management and approximately 60 employees. In 1979, Franklin Money Fund began a growth surge that made it Franklin's first billion-dollar fund and launched the company's tremendous asset growth in the 1980s.

Starting in 1980, the company's total assets under management doubled (or nearly doubled) every year for the next six years. The company's stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1986 under the ticker symbol "BEN". In the same year, the company opened its first office outside North America in Taiwan. In 1988, Franklin acquired L.F. Rothschild Fund Management Company. Assets under management for Franklin grew from just over US$2 billion in 1982 to more than US$40 billion in 1989 (the crash of 1987 had little impact on Franklin's income and bond funds). Not one to rest on their laurels, management was concerned about Franklin's heavy emphasis on fixed income investments that had become the company's bread and butter.

Strategic acquisitions in the 1990s helped Franklin diversify its investment management capabilities beyond fixed income and also expand its global footprint throughout Europe and Asia. In 1992, after striking a deal with famed global investor Sir John Templeton for the acquisition of Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger Ltd., Charlie was named Fund Leader of the Year for spearheading what was then the largest merger of an independent mutual fund company in history. Templeton gave the company a strong portfolio of international equity funds as well as the expertise of emerging markets guru Dr. Mark Mobius, who, during his distinguished career, spent more than 40 years working in emerging markets all over the world. Then in 1996, in an effort to broaden its line of domestic equity products, Franklin Templeton bought Heine Securities Corporation, investment adviser to Mutual Series Fund, Inc., from Wall Street icon Michael Price.

Photo of Dr. Mark Mobius and Sir John Templeton (1912 - 2008).

Several more key acquisitions solidified the company's position as a premier global investment management organisation: Bissett in 2000, Fiduciary Trust in 2001 and Darby in 2003. In 2005, Gregory E. Johnson (Greg), Charlie's son, became chief executive officer, assuming overall responsibility for leading Franklin Templeton. Greg had grown up in the business and worked his way through the organisation beginning on the trading desk at age 24 in 1985. Charlie retained his role as chairman and continued to provide guidance to Greg and his leadership team.

Photo of Gregory E. Johnson.

Franklin Templeton continues to seek ways to deliver better outcomes for clients.

In 2012, the firm acquired a majority stake in K2 Advisors, a provider of integrated hedge fund and alternative investment products and solutions, to expand the firm’s alternative capabilities.

In 2013, Charlie Johnson retired as chairman. During his distinguished career, Charlie successfully navigated Franklin Templeton through more than 50 years of growth and change. Charlie believed that success is built on hard work, dedication and persistence in service to our clients.

In 2014, Franklin Templeton offered its first exchange-traded fund (ETF) to provide access to the firm’s investment expertise in a low-cost, transparent vehicle. The firm continues to expand its Franklin LibertyShares® ETF line-up globally, which today includes active, passive and smart beta strategies.

As the decade progressed, Franklin Templeton continued to acquire firms to bolster its solutions and alternatives businesses, including a macro-focused quantitative investment firm and a company with expertise in investment data science, machine learning and statistical algorithms.

In 2018, Franklin Templeton acquired Edinburgh Partners, an established global value investment management firm. This move strengthened our global equity product offerings and brought onboard a highly-regarded investment team and leadership.

In 2019, Franklin Templeton acquired Benefit Street Partners, a leading alternative credit manager. The acquisition bolsters Franklin Templeton’s alternative offerings and expands its robust fixed income capabilities to include an array of alternative credit strategies.

In November 2019, after 15 years as CEO, it was announced that Greg Johnson would become executive chairman of the board of Franklin Resources, Inc. Jenny Johnson was named the company’s next CEO, leading Franklin Templeton into its next phase of growth.

Jenny Johnson

Franklin Templeton began the decade under the leadership of Jenny Johnson, who became President and CEO in February of 2020 after more than 30 years with the company. In Jenny’s first year as CEO, Franklin Templeton acquired several companies to help propel the firm into a new phase of growth.

In January of 2020, the firm acquired two leading wealth management firms, Pennsylvania Trust and Athena Capital, to deepen and diversify the investment and servicing solutions offered through the company’s wealth management business that operates under the Fiduciary Trust brand.

In May of 2020, the firm acquired leading digital wealth management platform provider, AdvisorEngine. The acquisition helps Franklin Templeton better serve wealth managers, financial advisors and registered investment advisors with goals-based financial planning tools, digital portfolio construction analytics and research-enabled practice management services.

In July of 2020, Franklin Templeton completed the largest and most significant acquisition in its history with the purchase of Legg Mason and its specialist investment managers. The acquisition added differentiated capabilities to Franklin Templeton’s existing investment strategies, bringing notable added leadership and strength in core fixed income, active equities and alternatives. It also expanded the firm’s multi-asset solutions, a key growth area.

Franklin Templeton continues to explore investment opportunities in financial technology, wealth management and asset management companies to better serve its customers around the world. 2020 was a year of major accomplishments, all during an unprecedented global pandemic with nearly everyone working remotely.