Franklin Templeton looks for new country head

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Franklin Templeton in Australia, the subsidiary of the US$1 trillion Franklin Resources, is going through a management restructure. A recruitment firm has been appointed to search for a new country head and head of distribution, following recent redundancies and a senior departure.

Maria Wilton, the local managing director for the past 11-or so years, will become a consultant/advisor to the firm, she has confirmed. Her exact role is still to be decided and will, at least in part, depend on the person who fills the new top role.

Her move follows the departure in March this year of Jim McKay, who has become the managing director or Warakirri Asset Management, following the retirement from that role of the founder, John Nolan. Nolan remains an investment committee member and advisor to REST Industry Super.

Charlie Levinge, a former senior institutional sales person, also left Franklin Templeton in March to become head of institutional at multi-affiliate manager Grant Samuel Asset Management. And the two most senior institutional business executives, Keri Pratt and Jim Savage, were made redundant last year due to a global head-count reduction policy. Pratt has subsequently taken on a new position as the head of ‘vendor management’ at NSW State Super as well as a number of non-executive roles and Savage has recently joined the big information and analytics company FactSet.

Sam Mann, the former head of Franklin Templeton subsidiary K2 Advisors, left this year to set up his own business, under the umbrella of Ironbridge Capital, with Franklin Templeton outsourcing some of its assets under management and remaining an important client of his new firm, Longreach Capital.

On a more positive note, Christina Manonian, an American who has worked for Franklin Templeton in Australia previously, returned from the US this year to become the director of institutional sales, based in Melbourne.

The country head and distribution role being canvassed will cover both institutional and wholesale sales as well as overseeing administration. Annalie Davies, a well-known recruiter who is the principal of Vine Partners, has started the search.

Maria Wilton said over the weekend that she looked forward to continuing to work at the company, which had grown from about $2 billion in Australian-sourced assets when she joined in 2006 to about $20 billion today. And also continuing to be active in the industry, she said. She is active in AIST, Women in Super and various charities.

“As the business has grown we have built out the team and recently added resources on the retail (wholesale) side and in marketing,” she said.

She resides in and works out of the Melbourne office but Franklin Templeton also has a substantial Sydney office. The new person can be based in either city, which is commonplace in funds management.

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