Franklin Resources' CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Pre Recorded Earnings Call Transcript

Franklin Resources (BEN)

Q2 2012 Pre Recorded Earnings Call

May 02, 2012 12:00 am ET


Gregory Eugene Johnson - Chief Executive Officer, President, and Director

Kenneth Allan Lewis - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting officer and Executive Vice President



Welcome to the Franklin Resources Earnings Commentary for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.

Statements made in this commentary regarding Franklin Resources Inc., which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These and other risks, uncertainties and other important factors are described in more detail in Franklin's recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Risk Factors and MD&A sections of Franklin's most recent Form 10-K and 10-Q filing. This commentary was prerecorded.

Gregory Eugene Johnson

Hello, and welcome to the second quarter earnings commentary. I'm Greg Johnson, CEO; along with Ken Lewis, our CFO.

The March quarter got off to a strong start for us as increased sales activity and the market tailwind led to increased assets under management. Net new flows turned positive again this quarter, driven by the increase in sales, with long-term flows positive across all investment objectives for the first time in nearly 3 years. Most importantly, long-term relative investment performance remained strong across the firm. Net income also rebounded, and quarterly earnings per share of $2.32 reached a record high.

Relative investment performance for the U.S. fund range is highlighted on Slide 6. Of course, this is specific to a subset of our overall business, and we encourage you to take a look at the broader performance summary in our 10-Q, which was also filed this morning.

Overall, U.S. relative performance rankings were little changed from December as improving fixed income performance was offset by weaker equity performance. The biggest detractor from equity performance rankings was the Franklin Income Fund, which represents 53% of Franklin equity assets. The fund underperformed its Lipper peer group average by about 80 basis points for the 1-year period, or 66 percentile, due to its traditional overweighting in utility and energy sectors that underperformed the broad market in the quarter. Importantly, long-term performance remains outstanding.

Fixed-income performance improved across-the-board, although the strong year-to-date rebound in Templeton Global Bond's performance has not yet fully turned the one-year number.

Assets under management increased 8% for the quarter to $726 billion. Monthly AUM increased 5%.

Turning to Slide 9. The mix of AUM by investment objective and sales region was little changed since December. Strong equity markets and fund performance added $51 billion to assets under management this quarter. Long-term sales increased 27% to $48.5 billion while total redemptions fell 19%, although redemptions were really little changed if you exclude last quarter's large advisory account closure.

As illustrated on Slides 11 and 12, flow trends improved in the U.S. and internationally and across investment objectives. U.S. long-term sales increased 19% due to an overall improvement in sales across a number of strategies, particularly U.S. equity, hybrid and fixed income.

International long-term sales increased 37% from last quarter, due primarily to improved sales of our cross-border CCAB range where market demand for regional emerging market strategies and global fixed income continued.

We continue to promote equity investing in the U.S. and internationally through a number of ongoing campaigns, and we are pleased to see that long-term sales in U.S. equity grew 32% for the quarter. The top-selling U.S.-registered fund in this category was Franklin Rising Dividends Fund. This fund has been included in a number of our equity campaigns. Internationally, our U.S. heritage makes us a natural candidate to invest in U.S. equity.

The top-selling U.S. equity fund in our cross-border range was the CCAB U.S. Opportunities Fund.

In the cross-border market, demand for regional emerging market strategies continues. CCAB Templeton Asian Growth Fund was the top-selling equity fund for the quarter, generating $1.2 billion in net new flows. Interest in this fund is diversified by distributor with the Americas and Europe regions generating the majority of net new flows. We've also seen a return to positive net new flows for the European sales region this quarter, led by strong flows in Italy and Germany.

On the institutional side, we continue to see flows into global and U.S. equity strategies, particularly from international clients. We've also been successful securing locally managed mandates from institutional clients investing in Latin America and India. Global fixed-income strategies also continued to attract institutional flows.

In the hybrid category, U.S.-based Franklin Income Fund's long-term sales grew 36% for the quarter, resulting in $1.2 billion in net new flows for one of our most popular funds. Advisors with clients seeking higher yields in the current market environment have looked to the Franklin Income Fund, a fund with a history of generating income for over 60 years.

In the interest of yield, we also have seen increasing sales in our high-yield U.S. fixed-income funds in both the U.S. and cross-border markets. Interest in our tax-free, fixed-income funds continued its upward trend with long-term sales up 36% for the quarter. Tax-free, fixed-income, long-term sales for the quarter are the highest we've seen since the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009.

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