Mon, Jun 24, 2024

Business, Banking & Finance
Franklin Templeton creates new team for alternative solutions

Franklin Templeton, a global investment management organization, has created a new team to support the growth of alternative solutions in the wealth channel.

London-based George Szemere, who was previously Head of Business Development, Alternatives, EMEA has been appointed as Head of Alternatives EMEA Wealth Management. Szemere and his team will focus on the distribution of Franklin Templeton’s private market solutions to the EMEA wealth channel as well as strengthening the firm’s strategic partnerships.

Additionally, to lead the development of alternative product solutions, Jake Williams has been appointed as Head of International Alternatives Product Strategy. Williams brings 15 years of experience in product development and in this role. He is responsible for the research and development of new alternative products excluding the US. Williams joined Franklin Templeton from Barings in July 2023 where he led their global product strategy team. Previously, he was Head of US Product at Legal & General Investment Management. Williams has also held various product roles at HSBC Asset Management, BlackRock and Lehman Brothers Investment Management.

Democratising private asset solutions

Szemere commented: “Franklin Templeton has over 75 years of experience serving retail investors and developing innovative solutions to meet client needs. With the acquisitions of Benefit Street Partners, Clarion Partners, Lexington Partners, and Alcentra in 2022, the firm has taken a deliberate and strategic approach to growing its global alternatives platform which today manages over $255 billion in alternative assets.

“Building on our success in the US and leveraging existing wealth solution capabilities, our ambition is to enable access to our deep bench of specialist alternative managers and strategies, through one relationship with a singular focus of helping the wealth channel build better investment outcomes for their respective clients. As private asset solutions in the wealth channel continue to gain momentum, we are committed to further expanding the team across client servicing and marketing roles.”

Today’s market environment presents numerous challenges for the wealth channel. Fortunately, through a combination of product innovation, and access to institutional-quality managers in the industry, alternative investments are becoming more accessible to a broader group of investors.

Williams said: “In the last couple of years, there has been a confluence of events in EMEA that are driving the democratisation of alternative investments similar to what has been seen in the U.S. Firstly, the current market environment highlights the need for a more robust and sophisticated toolbox for the wealth channel. Secondly, we see that product innovation, resulting from regulatory changes, has helped usher in more investor-friendly vehicles to deliver alternative investments and, finally, access to dedicated alternative managers has been critical to develop quality products targeted at the wealth channel. All of these elements, combined with the development of technology and improving infrastructures, have helped to democratise alternative investments.”

Szemere, added: “As wealth clients look at solutions to diversify their traditional asset allocation models, we see heightened interest on how allocating to alternative asset classes might support the creation of better outcomes for their end clients, and the need for both education and product solutions. This initiative follows our success in the US where we have an established and dedicated alternatives wealth solutions team, delivering both product and award-winning educational content via the FT Academy and FT Institute.”

Sandeep Singh, Head of CEEMEA & India, Franklin Templeton, said: “While our traditional mutual fund offerings have continued to experience strong demand from our clients, we also expect to see significant appetite for alternative solutions across all sub-categories. I am excited that the EMEA Alternatives Wealth Management team will be collaborating with our local distribution teams in the Middle East to extend the firm’s private market offerings. We have enjoyed the leadership position for over two decades in the cross-border distribution business with our traditional funds. With Franklin Templeton’s specialist alternative managers’ world-class investment expertise and ongoing commitment to investing in distribution, training, and education initiatives, we are uniquely positioned to capture growth opportunities in the Middle East’s wealth management channel.”

The firm’s autonomous specialist investment managers, each with deep domain expertise, provide a diverse range of alternative asset capabilities including private credit offerings from Benefit Street Partners and Alcentra, commercial real estate from Clarion Partners, social infrastructure from Franklin Real Assets Advisors, hedged strategies from K2 Advisors and secondary private equity and co-investments from Lexington Partners.

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