US asset manager Franklin Templeton Investments has appointed Manraj Sekhon (pictured) as chief investment officer of emerging markets equity, effective 19 February 2018.
Sekhon will be based in Singapore and will report to Stephen Dover, head of Equities for Franklin Templeton Investments. In his new role, he will oversee the firm’s $45bn AUM (€36.1bn) emerging market equity team that comprises over 80 investment professionals based in 20 offices.
The investment philosophies and disciplined approaches of each distinct strategy within the emerging markets equity groups will remain intact.
Formerly, Sekhon was the CEO, CIO and director of Singapore-based asset manager Fullerton Fund Management. Prior to that, Sekhon held positions of director and head of International Equities at Henderson Global Investors, where he led a team managing global and EAFE (Europe, Australasia & Far East) portfolios for clients worldwide.
His appointment comes with numerous changes within Templeton Emerging Markets Group. It is understood senior leadership will be structured by strategy type, with directors overseeing global emerging markets, Asia, frontier & MENA, all reporting to Sekhon.
Hence, Chetan Sehgal, senior managing director, director of portfolio management will oversee global emerging markets (GEM), small cap and Latin America and Eastern Europe strategies. In aaddition, he has been appointed lead portfolio manager of the firm’s emerging markets investment trust TEMIT.
Sehgal succeds Carlos Hardenberg who resigned on 31 January from Franklin Templeton and who will continue as a portfolio manager for TEMIT until 31 March 2018.
Sukumar Rajah, senior managing director, director of portfolio management, will look after investments across the Asian emerging market equity strategies whilst Bassel Khatoun, managing director, director of portfolio management will oversee frontier markets and MENA investment strategies.
Tek Khoan Ong, senior managing director, director of research continues in this senior leadership role.
Franklin Templeton started to reshuffle its emerging market teams as from 2016 with the appointment of Dover as CIO of TEMG and of Franklin Local Asset Management before he was handed over the position of head of Equities in May 2017, to whom Franklin Templeton’s equity CIOs report.
The firm also faced the retirement of EM famed investor Mark Mobius, who spent over 30 years with Franklin Templeton, on 31 January 2018.
Commenting on Sekhon’s appointment, Dover said: “Manraj Sekhon brings more than two decades of industry experience in emerging markets and is a proven global investment leader.
“As part of the next phase in the evolution of our emerging markets teams, we are pleased to bring on a leader who I am confident will best leverage the breadth of our investment talent across emerging markets equities to deliver the high quality investment strategies and performance that our clients expect.”
Sekhon added: “Templeton is known as a pioneer in emerging markets investing. I am honored and excited by this opportunity to join the firm to build on the legacy of renowned investors Sir John Templeton and Dr. Mark Mobius.
“The emerging markets expertise that Franklin Templeton has built, with a deep bench of experienced investment professionals embedded across the countries they research and invest in, is renowned in the industry. I am privileged to be leading this talented group.”
Franklin Templeton Investments had over $753bn (€607.6bn) in assets under management as of 31 December 2017.