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Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN - Analyst Report) declared preliminary assets under management (AUM) of $870.6 billion by its subsidiaries for Nov 2013. The reported figure depicted a marginal increase from $869.0 billion as of Oct 31, 2013. Moreover, it surged 13.2% from $768.8 billion as of Nov 30, 2012.

Month-end total equity assets came in at $361.0 billion, up 1.0% from the prior month and 22.2% on a year-over-year basis. Of the total equity assets, around 71% were from international sources, while the remaining 29% were from the U.S.

Total fixed income assets were $358.7 billion, decreasing 1.1% from $362.6 billion as of Oct 31, 2013 and 2.9% from $348.5 billion as of Nov 31, 2012. Of the fixed income assets, only 20% was tax-free and the remaining portion was taxable.

Franklin recorded $144.6 billion in hybrid assets, which rose 1.5% from $142.4 billion in the prior month and 21.6% from $118.9 billion in the prior-year month.

Cash management funds were $6.3 billion, down from $6.6 billion in the previous month, but rising from the prior-year month figure of $6.0 billion.

Among other asset managers, Legg Mason Inc. (LM - Analyst Report) and Invesco Ltd. (IVZ - Analyst Report) are expected to release their preliminary AUM for November by the end of this week.

Our Viewpoint

Franklin's global footprint is a favorable strategic point given its well diversified AUM. Moreover, the company is poised to benefit from its recent acquisitions and strong balance sheet. On the flip side, regulatory restrictions and tepid economic growth could deter AUM growth and lead to higher costs. Additionally, increase in expenses is a concern.

Franklin currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the same industry is Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. (APAM - Snapshot Report) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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