If there's any sector that's done as well as consumer staples in 2013, it's been financials. That shouldn't be a huge surprise -- a rising market goes hand-in-hand with rising fees for financial firms, so the ascent stocks have made in the last six months and change has been a boon to the financial sector. Case in point: Franklin Resources ( BEN).
Franklin manages more than $820 billion in stock, bond and hybrid funds targeted towards retail investors -- and as the firm's assets under management rise, so too do its management fees. As the fifth-biggest asset manager in the country, Franklin enjoys a nice balance between size and positioning. Because it's an independent asset manager, it skirts the negative implications of big banks' investment arms but retains the scale to turn out deep margins in the double-digits. The firm's retail focus should be rewarding in 2013, especially as investors who have been hesitant to have money in stocks start to dip a toe into the market again.BEN's 130,000 advisors provide a direct sales path between the firm and its clients. And because those advisors build relationships with individual investors, its funds tend to be stickier than those at other firms with big retail investor exposure. While Franklin's asset mix is fixed-income-heavy right now, as favor starts turning to equities, the firm's profits should start turning up as well.
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