Mark Mobius is to hand over the day-to-day management of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, as the company’s US-based parent, Franklin Templeton, brings under one umbrella its emerging markets divisions, it was announced on Tuesday.
Mobius, 79 – who Templeton insists is not retiring – passes overall control of the group to Stephen Dover, currently chief investment officer of Franklin Local Asset Management. Dover will assume the additional role of CIO of the Emerging Markets Group, thus bringing the Templeton emerging markets equity teams under one umbrella.
The changes are due to take full effect on April 15 and are part of Templeton’s “ongoing focus on succession planning and leadership development”, the company said in a statement.
They also coincide with a difficult time for Franklin Templeton, which has suffered from significant outflows in recent months, as investors have pulled out of volatile and money-losing emerging markets.
Mobius will remain as executive chairman of TEMG, and will retain his portfolio management responsibilities as well as continuing to stay involved as a member the team, Templeton said.
The move follows on from Mobius’ decision last July to step back as head of the Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust. Whilst Mobius is still a named portfolio manager, in a similar move, Carlos Hardenberg became lead manager in July 2015.
In its statement, Templeton added that Mobius’s move will allow him to expand his role as a “thought leader for the group, sharing his macro perspective on investment opportunities across emerging markets with clients globally”.
The statement added: “In terms of succession planning, Franklin Templeton has always taken a thoughtful, deliberate approach over time. Over the coming months, Dover will leverage Mobius as an important adviser, as he further evaluates and refines the structure to best position the emerging markets groups and identify opportunities for more formal collaboration.
“We continuously evaluate how to effectively organise our investment teams and bring out the best from our investment talent.
“We are committed to producing strong long-term investment returns for our clients, and we believe the two teams will be more effective by working collaboratively together.”
American emerging markets guru
Mobius, who joined the NYSE-listed, San Mateo, California-based Templeton in 1987, has long been a tireless advocate of investing in emerging and frontier markets, beginning long before most other investors were prepared to consider them. An American by birth – his mother was from Puerto Rico and his father from Germany – he actually began investing in global emerging markets more than 40 years ago, according to his profile on the Franklin Templeton website.
He holds bachelors and masters degrees from Boston University, and a PhD in economics and political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mobius is almost as famous for his lack of hair as he is for his success as an investor in emerging markets, which some would argue has contributed to his fame. A Financial Times headline of a few years ago referred to him “the bold, the bald and the lucky”.