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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Franklin Takes the Red Tape off International Fund

News summary by MFWire's editors

Franklin Templeton is looking to add capital to its Franklin International Small Cap Growth Fund by tapping into demand from retail investors. The company has opened the fund, which launched in 2002, to retail investors for the first time. The fund will be available in A, C and R share classes.

Company Press Release

SAN MATEO, Calif. - (Business Wire) Franklin Templeton Investments today announced that Franklin International Small Cap Growth Fund will now be available to U.S. retail investors. The addition of new A, C and R share classes will allow retail investors to participate in a fund with a strong track record that, until now, has been exclusive to institutional investors since its 2002 inception.

Franklin International Small Cap Growth Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing predominantly in equity securities of smaller international companies that the managers feel are poised for long-term dynamic growth.

“Exceptional small companies that represent significant investment opportunities exist all over the world, and investors who limit their smaller company exposure to only those companies based in the U.S. may be turning a blind eye,” said the Fund’s lead manager, Ed Lugo, CFA, vice president and portfolio manager for Franklin Global Advisers. “We scour the globe for small-cap investment opportunities, applying various valuation techniques to identify high-quality, attractively valued smaller companies. We aim to produce a portfolio of outstanding small-cap companies that generate strong investment returns over the long term, while keeping an eye on risk. These companies tend to have proprietary products and services, longer-term competitive advantages and a higher probability of maintaining strong balance sheets and/or generating cash flow.”

Franklin International Small Cap Growth Fund can be an attractive option for investors seeking global diversification. International smaller company stocks tend to have lower correlation to the broader U.S. market than stocks of larger international companies because they typically focus on their local market, which may help insulate them from U.S. market trends.

Lugo, the Fund’s lead manager, has 16 years of investment experience and serves as leader of Franklin Global Advisers’ non-U.S. Small & Mid Cap Growth Equity team, which is dedicated to the identification of smaller companies that have, in their opinion, the potential to provide above average performance. David Glazer, CFA, is the other member of the Fund’s portfolio management team, and Lugo will further leverage the research of Franklin Global Advisers’ overall team of 55 investment professionals.

Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in a diversified portfolio of marketable equity and equity-related securities of smaller international companies, which are defined as having market capitalizations not exceeding $2 billion or the highest market capitalization in the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) EAFE Small Cap Index, whichever is greater, at the time of purchase. The Fund considers international companies to be those organized under the laws of a country outside of North America or having a principal office in a country outside of North America, or whose securities are listed or traded principally on a recognized stock exchange or over- the-counter market outside of North America. The Fund may invest up to 10% of its net assets in emerging market countries.

The Fund is intended for long-term investors who are comfortable with fluctuation in the value of their investment, especially over the short term. Smaller, relatively new and/or unseasoned companies can be particularly sensitive to changing economic conditions, and their prospects for growth are less certain than those of larger, more established companies. Foreign investing involves additional risks such as currency and market volatility, as well as political and social instability. Emerging markets involve heightened risks relating to the same factors. The Fund also invests in technology stocks, which can be highly volatile, especially over the short term. These and other risks are described in the Fund’s prospectus.

Investors interested in Franklin International Small Cap Growth Fund should carefully consider the Fund’s investment goals, risks, charges and expenses before investing. To obtain a prospectus, which contains this and other information, talk to your financial advisor, call 1-800/DIAL BEN (1-800/342-5236) or visit franklintempleton.com. Please carefully read the prospectus before you invest or send money.

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN), is a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management solutions managed by its Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Fiduciary Trust, Darby and Bissett investment teams. The San Mateo, CA-based company has more than 60 years of investment experience and over $617 billion in assets under management as of April 30, 2008. For more information, please visit franklintempleton.com. 

Edited by: Erin Kello

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