has lost one of its top health care managers, but his peers will soldier on.
Kurt von Emster, co-manager of the broker-sold
Franklin Global Health Care and
Franklin Biotechnology Discovery fund since their respective 1992 and 1997 inceptions, left the firm last Friday, according to company spokeswoman Stacey Johnston.
Jake Nunn, who had worked with von Emster since 1997, will take the reins of the $220 million Global Health Care fund, with help from Evan McCulloch and Paul Walker. McCulloch has worked on the fund for the last six years and Walker, who holds a degree in biotechnology and cell biology from U.C. San Diego, has worked at Franklin since 1996.
McCulloch will replace von Emster at the helm of the $1.7 billion Biotechnology fund, which is currently closed to new investors.
The two funds are among the leading and lagging health care funds out there. Stocks of biotech firms -- cutting-edge drug and medical device shops -- have led the sector, helping the Biotechnology fund beat its peers. The fund's 43% annualized return over the last three years beats 98% of its peers, according to
The Global Health Care fund, on the other hand, boasts solid absolute returns but lags its peers thanks to its holdings in big-cap pharmaceutical stocks. Over the last five years the fund has averaged a 16.2% gain, but that lags 85% of its peers.
Von Emster is still listed as a co-manager of both health care funds on Franklin Templeton's Web site.