Franklin Templeton plans Belgium office to support funds business

AntwerpFranklin Templeton Investments is to open an office in Belgium, a country that it has serviced historically from Luxembourg.

Jamie Hammond, managing director for Europe, said the decision came as a result of Belgian banks appointing Franklin to their fund networks as part of a trend towards guided architecture, where banks offer a select number of third-party products to customers.

“Historically, we have serviced Belgium from Luxembourg. But as we have been appointed by banks as they open up and adopt more guided architecture, it has led us to hiring people and we will be opening an office there rather than have someone drive in from Luxembourg,” he told Funds Europe in an interview that will appear in the October edition of the magazine.

As a US asset manager, Franklin Templeton has won fans for its commitment to a local presence in various local markets and for staying there even as economies slowed down.

Recently it celebrated the 20th anniversary of the opening of its Frankfurt am Main office.

However, Hammond acknowledged a key part of the European strategy had affected by the current situation.

Franklin Templeton aims to create local products for individual markets – not just in terms of domestic equity funds, but also by creating local fund structures.

The 2011 purchase of fund manager, Rensburg Fund Management, which came with an open-ended investment company – or Oeic – range, was to further this aim in the UK.

But July saw €1.1 billion outflows from UK equity funds across the European asset management industry, according to Lipper. Franklin Templeton was no exception.

Hammond said: “The economic situation has not stopped us from opening offices where it makes strategic sense, but in the last few years we’ve launched some additional European equity and fixed income funds and the situation has not been supportive of regional products that we have wanted to distribute at a more local level.”

He added that interest in UK equities had been signalled by sovereign wealth funds.

©2012 funds europe