Asset management is facing its extinction rebellion moment. Facing significant disruption, the industry needs to prove its value to investors. What are the key areas that an asset management firm must address in a new landscape, characterised by regulation, technology disruption, socially responsible investing and efficient passive management?


Jenny Johnson, President and chief executive officer, Franklin Templeton

Moderator: Colin Tate, Chief executive, Conexus Financial

Key Takeaways

  • The change of work habits brought about by Covid-19 has taken the war for talent up a notch, forcing managers to accommodate the best people wherever they want to live, says Jenny Johnson, president and CEO of global investment firm Franklin Templeton.
  • Having this year acquired asset management firm Legg Mason in a $4.5 billion deal, Johnson said workplaces would increasingly see their employees either working full time at home or more likely some kind of “hybrid model” where people are expected to come to the office but far less often.
  • Legg Mason is known for its “multi-boutique” business model.
  • When Conexus Financial chief executive Colin Tate asked if Johnson wanted to have her cake and eat it too by striving to be one of the world’s largest asset managers but give employees the flexibility to work like they’re in a boutique, Johnson replied: “Absolutely”. Keeping the independence of a boutique manager backed with the strength of a large platform was “the way of the future”, she said.
  • Johnson acknowledged there were periods of time when people in the organisation asked whether Franklin Templeton had paid too much for Legg Mason, having paid $4.5 billion in cash and taken on $2 billion of Legg Mason’s debt just as the pandemic was taking hold.

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