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Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN - Analyst Report) declared preliminary assets under management (AUM) of $781.8 billion by its subsidiaries for December 2012. The company’s results witnessed a rise of 1.7% from $768.8 billion as of November 30, 2012. Moreover, it increased 16.6% from $675.8 billion as of November 30, 2011.

Month-end total equity assets came in at $303.4 billion, increasing 2.7% from the prior month, and 12.3% on a year-over-year basis. Of the total equity assets, around 73% were from international sources, while the remaining 27% were from the U.S.

Total fixed income assets were $351.7 billion, marginally rising from $348.5 billion as of November 30, 2012, and augmenting 18.1% from $297.7 billion as of December 30, 2011. Overall, tax-free assets accounted for only 24% of the fixed income assets, while the remaining 76% were taxable.

Franklin recorded $121.0 billion in hybrid assets, which edged up 1.8% from $118.9 billion in the prior month and surged 25.5% from $96.4 billion in the prior-year month.

Cash management funds were reported at $5.7 billion, waning 5% from the prior month as well as the prior-year month.

Quarterly Performance

On a quarterly basis, as of September 30, 2012, total AUM was $749.9 billion, up from $707.1 billion as of June 30, 2012, driven by market appreciation of $40.8 billion and net new flows of $2.9 billion.

Simple monthly average AUM of $726.7 billion climbed 2% sequentially. Net new flows were $2.9 billion versus $4.8 billion in the prior quarter.

Peer Performance

Among Franklin’s peers, Invesco Ltd. (IVZ - Analyst Report) recorded a marginal rise in its preliminary month-end assets under management (AUM) for December 2012. The AUM for the month was $687.7 billion compared with $683.8 billion at the end of November.

Our Viewpoint

Franklin's global footprint is an exceptionally favorable strategic point as its AUM is well diversified. The company is also poised to benefit from its strong balance sheet. However, regulatory restrictions and sluggish economic growth could mar AUM improvement and alleviate costs. Additionally, higher expenses remain a matter of concern.

Franklin currently retains a Zacks Rank #2, which translates into a short-term Buy rating.

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