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[LONDON] Mark Mobius, who is credited as a pioneer in emerging-market investing, will step down as the lead manager of one of the oldest developing-nation stock funds after trailing his benchmarks in recent years.
The Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust, a 1.9 billion pound (S$3.9 billion) fund traded in London and New Zealand, has selected Carlos Hardenberg to take over from Oct 1, it said in a filing. Mr Mobius, 78, will support Mr Hardenberg as a portfolio manager and remain chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group, which oversees US$39 billion in assets, it said.
Templeton routinely evaluates portfolio managers and "makes changes based on what we believe is in the best interests of our clients," Mr Mobius said in the filing.
While the Templeton Trust delivered outsized gains in early years after Mr Mobius established it in 1989, its recent performance has slipped. The fund has declined 0.3 per cent annually over the past five years, compared with a gain of 1.9 per cent in its benchmark, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In the annual report released month, Peter Smith, chairman of the Templeton trust, acknowledged that the fund's performance was "very disappointing," while ensuring investors that the board will challenge the "investment model" with the managers at each quarterly meeting.
Rebecca Radosevich, a spokeswoman for Franklin Templeton Investments, declined to comment beyond what the company said in the statement. Phone messages left with Mobius and Hardenberg after regular business hours were not immediately returned.
Mr Hardenberg, who has been with Templeton for 13 years, will relocate to London, according to the statement. Chetan Sehgal, an executive vice president, will continue to serve as senior research analyst, it said.