Asset Management

ESG Phenomenon: Franklin Templeton Launches Stewardship Oversight

Editorial Staff 19 March 2021

ESG Phenomenon: Franklin Templeton Launches Stewardship Oversight

Developments and commentary in and around the ESG investment space.

Franklin Templeton’s acquisition of Legg Mason last year gave its ESG bench a considerable lift. Carrying this forward, the US asset manager is launching a new stewardship and sustainability council to be anchored by co-chairs in the UK.

Last year's acquisition established Franklin Templeton as one of the world’s largest independent asset managers, with approximately $1.4 trillion in assets under management globally. Getting large asset managers seriously on board with ESG is considered the golden bullet for a market-shifting response to climate risk.

The new sustainability council will link up 19 specialist investment managers across the organization to stay on top of best practices and tackle concerns about ESG data requirements, transparency, and reporting, the firm said.

It will be co-chaired by Edinburgh-based David Sheasby, head of stewardship and ESG for Martin Currie, and London-based David Zahn, head of European fixed income/sustainable fixed income at Franklin Templeton. Both will keep their current investment responsibilities in the new council roles.

The firm also said it is actively recruiting for a global head of ESG at the firm to help lead the effort as Julie Moret has announced her departure this month to pursue other opportunities.

“The Stewardship and Sustainability Council will leverage the considerable ESG expertise embedded within our investment teams,” Jenny Johnson, president and CEO of Franklin Templeton said.

“While the strength of our organization lies with the breadth and autonomy of our specialist investment managers, we also recognize that an organization of our scale can have tremendous positive impact by working collectively on stewardship and sustainability matters for the benefit of our clients.”

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