We established a position in Franklin Resources (BEN), one of the world’s largest global mutual fund companies, with leading products in both equities and fixed income. For starters, we believe asset management is an attractive business and Franklin has a history of strong fund performance across various asset classes and geographies. The company is selling for less than 14x our estimate of this year’s EPS and just over 11x adjusting for net cash and securities. In our view, this is a cheap price for a well-run company in such an attractive industry. Management has historically returned capital to shareholders through stock buybacks and dividends, and with insiders owning 35% of outstanding shares, we expect Franklin to continue to be good stewards of shareholders’ capital.
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