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Monday, May 04, 2009

A New Franklin Fund Eyes Europe and Asia

News summary by MFWire's editors

Franklin Templeton has launched the Mutual International Fund, which will invest mainly in Western Europe and developed Asia. Franklin is offering the fund in four share classes. Class A comes with an expense ratio of 147 basis points; Class C, 217 bps; Class R, 167 bps; and Class Z, 117 bps.

This is the eight fund in the Mutual Series.

"At Mutual Series, we didn't have a product that used our value approach to purely non-US stocks," said Philippe Brugere-Trelat, vice president of Mutual Series and co-portfolio manager of the fund.

"Despite the recent market rally, there's significant pockets of value to be unearthed," he said.
Company Press Release

AN MATEO, CA--(MARKET WIRE)--May 4, 2009 -- Franklin Templeton Investments (NYSE:BEN - News) today announced the introduction of Mutual International Fund, which will use Mutual Series' deep value investment approach while investing predominantly in securities of non-U.S. companies. The Fund seeks capital appreciation, with income as a secondary goal. It will focus primarily on undervalued securities of large- and mid-capitalization companies and, to a lesser extent, merger arbitrage and distressed securities. The Fund's strategy is to invest primarily in Europe and developed Asia. The construction of the portfolio will be the result of a bottom-up stock selection process.

"We believe that diligent, company-by-company research is critical to finding out-of-favor stocks trading at significant discounts to their intrinsic worth," said Philippe Brugere-Trelat, vice president of Mutual Series and co-portfolio manager of the Fund. "We also take a business owner's perspective and are willing to actively press companies for change when we believe it will unlock shareholder value."

International valuations have recently been over 40% below the 20-year average.(1) The ability to buy quality stocks when they are trading at such historically low levels is an exceptional opportunity for long-term investors.

"Using Mutual Series' rigorous, bottom-up investment strategy, we will focus on uncovering the most attractive investment opportunities in Asia," said Andrew Sleeman, co-portfolio manager of the Fund. "As always, our focus will be on companies with strong balance sheets and robust cash generation, with an eye on capital preservation."

Individuals looking for international exposure without a significant allocation to emerging markets may find this strategy attractive. Investors seeking to diversify a largely domestic or growth-style portfolio may also benefit from adding some international or value exposure.

Brugere-Trelat began his career with Mutual Series in 1984. He has 25 years of experience focused primarily on the European equity markets. In addition to managing all European investments for Mutual International Fund, he also manages Mutual European Fund.

Sleeman, a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)(2) Charterholder, has 23 years of experience and has been with Mutual Series since 2007 where he has been responsible for covering the insurance sector and later the Asia region. Prior to joining Mutual Series, he focused on international equities and fixed income. Brugere-Trelat and Sleeman will be supported by the Mutual Series investment team, which includes more than 25 portfolio managers, analysts and traders with an average of over 16 years of industry experience.

Special risks are associated with foreign investing, including currency fluctuations, economic instability and political developments. Investments in emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors, in addition to those associated with these markets' smaller size and lesser liquidity. Investments in value securities may not increase in price as anticipated or may decline further in value. The Fund's investments in companies engaged in mergers, reorganizations or liquidations also involve special risks as pending deals may not be completed on time or on favorable terms. The Fund may invest in lower-rated bonds, which entail higher credit risk. These and other risk considerations are discussed in the Fund's prospectus.

All investments in the Fund should be thought of as long-term investments that could experience significant price volatility in any given year. The Fund is designed for the value portion of a well-diversified portfolio.

Investors interested in Mutual International Fund or any other Mutual Series 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 (800) DIAL BEN/(800) 342-5236 or visit franklintempleton.com. Please carefully read the prospectus before you invest or send money.

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN - News) 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 $391 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2009. For more information, please call (800) DIAL BEN® or visit franklintempleton.com.
 

Edited by: Armie Margaret Lee


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