Franklin Templeton Investments Australia Ltd. doesn’t plan to add another fund manager after buying Andrew Sisson’s Balanced Equity Management in July. But it says it would be logical to have a team that offers Australian bonds or investments in stocks outside the S&P/ASX 100 Index.   

“We would suffer indigestion if we were on the route to another acquisition as we’ve gone from $7 billion to $17 billion,” says Maria Wilton, managing director of Franklin Templeton Investments Australia Ltd. “But a small cap is an obvious area and Australian fixed income is another potential product.”

Wilton and Sisson say so far their business marriage has worked. Wilton says she leaves the investment team alone while proving trading, compliance, legal and distribution services for Balanced Equity.

Templeton won’t disclose the price paid for Balanced Equity. Sisson paid $5.2 million for a Correggio painting that he gave to the National Gallery of Victoria when Templeton bought his firm.

“It’s great to have Maria shake the trees in the retail space and in the smaller institutional space,” says Sisson.

Wilton says there has been a “lost opportunity” for business in Australia to have more women represented on their boards and in leadership positions.

“If more companies focused on merit, more women would be represented,” she says.

Sisson says Balanced Equity could double its money under management without the need to hire additional staff. He characterises his investment strategy as “long-term value investors.”

Balanced Equity is the biggest shareholder in Qantas, with a 10 per cent stake. Sisson says the stock is cheap.

He says if superannuation funds don’t buy banks shares “it is an almost a breach of fiduciary duty, because of the tax credits”.

He is critical of the Lowy family’s pay. Frank Lowy, the Westfield founder, gets between $15 million and $20 million annually. Lowy’s sons get about $10 million a year for “running shopping centres”, says Sisson incredulously.

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