Franklin Resources Inc. is an American holding company that, together with its subsidiaries, is referred to as Franklin Templeton Investments; it is a global investment firm founded in New York City in 1947 as Franklin Distributors, Inc. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BEN, in honor of Benjamin Franklin, for whom the company is named, and who was admired by founder Rupert Johnson, Sr. In 1973 the company's headquarters moved from New York to San Mateo, California. Today, Franklin Templeton Investments is one of the world's largest asset management groups with over US$850 billion in assets under management (AUM) on behalf of over 25 million private, professional and institutional investors, as at September 30, 2014, up $29.7 billion or 4% during the 4th quarter (FY 2013).
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 American polymath Benjamin Franklin because Franklin espoused 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.
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.
By the early 1960s 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.
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 (not available to UK investors) began a growth surge that made it Franklin's first billion-dollar fund and launched the company's significant asset 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. 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).
In October 1992, Franklin acquired Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger Ltd. for a reported cost of $913 million, leading to the common name Franklin Templeton. Mutual fund pioneer Sir John Templeton was the owner of Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger Ltd together with his son Dr. John Templeton and John Galbraith who together owned 70% of the firm.
In November 1996, Heine Securities Corporation, known for the Mutual Series of funds, merged into the Franklin Templeton complex. In October 2000, Franklin acquired Bissett Funds to increase its Canadian presence, and Bissett remains a key brand from Franklin in the Canadian market. The Fiduciary Trust Company was acquired by Franklin Templeton in April 2001.
Fiduciary Trust Company, a member of the Franklin family, maintained an office of over 650 employees in Two World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks in 2001. 87 employees died in the collapse. Ann Tatlock, the CEO of Fiduciary Trust Co. International was at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha for a charity event hosted by Warren Buffett.
The firm specializes in conservatively managed mutual funds. It offers products under the Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series and Fiduciary brand names. Like other large investment companies, the firm offers a wide variety of funds but is traditionally best known for bond funds under the Franklin brand, international funds under the Templeton brand, and value funds under the Mutual Series brand.
As of July 31, 2008, Franklin Resources, Inc. managed over $570 billion in total assets worldwide. In April 2007, Franklin Resources was 445th in the Fortune 500, and 7th overall among securities companies.
In April 2007, USA Today listed BEN stock as the top stock pick for the last 25 years based on returns, claiming it is up 64,224% since 1982. In February 2009, Barron's Magazine called Franklin Templeton "King of the Decade" among fund families over the ten-year period ending in 2008.
The company sponsored a tennis tournament, the Franklin Templeton Classic.
The firm continues to make strategic investments and acquisitions, including asset managers in Australia and the UK, that further broaden and diversify its capabilities. Today, Franklin Templeton is one of the largest independent global asset management firms in the world with offices in 35 countries and clients in more than 150. In 2013, Charlie Johnson retired as chairman and Greg Johnson became chairman of the board, CEO and president.
Franklin Templeton has over 200 different open-ended mutual funds and 7 closed-end funds in the fund family. Included in these are 36 state and federal tax free income funds, an area of investment pioneered by Franklin.
Prominent funds in the fund family include the Templeton Growth Fund, Inc. (opened 1954, $29.5bn assets), the Mutual Shares fund (opened 1949, $7.9bn assets), and the Mutual Discovery Fund (opened 1992, $7.6bn assets) and the Templeton Growth (Euro) Fund A (acc) ($6.1bn assets).
The Franklin Income Fund (FKINX, assets $33.6bn) is a mutual fund in Morningstar's "conservative allocation" category and "large/value" style box. The fund was created in 1948 and has paid uninterrupted dividends for 60 years. The Franklin Income Fund is constructed primarily of dividend-paying stocks and bonds (2%).
In 2004, Franklin Templeton paid fines to the State of California, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle issues regarding questionable practices including market timing. The plan for distribution of settlement monies of $50 million was completed in September 2006, and all distributions have been completed as of December 2008.
A settlement was also completed with the Ontario Securities Commission concerning Bissett Funds in September 2005.