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Franklin to Buy Athena Capital Advisors With AUM Worth $6B

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Recently, Franklin Resources’ (BEN - Free Report) wholly-owned subsidiary — Fiduciary Trust Company International — a global wealth manager inked a deal to acquire Lincoln, MA-based Athena Capital Advisors, LLC. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed. The asset manager entered into the deal with a view to fortify its wealth-management business through diversification of the company’s investment solutions, in order to cater the rising demands of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients.

Athena Capital is a privately-owned registered investment adviser with around $6 billion in assets under management (AUM). It serves both tax-exempt institutions and taxable families with wealth management and investment counsel services, along with wealth planning, impact investing, and investment administration and reporting services. Notably, post-merger, Fiduciary Trust Company International would cater around $25 billion in AUM.

The transaction, likely to close in Franklin’s second quarter of fiscal 2020, is subject to certain customary closing conditions.

"Lisette has built an impressive team, and I look forward to working with them to help clients of both organizations reach their long-term goals," said John M. Dowd, CEO of Fiduciary Trust Company International. "Athena Capital brings enhanced investment research, manager selection, and due diligence that will complement and strengthen our existing strategic advisory services. Athena Capital is a pioneer in the field of impact investing, working with clients to align their investment portfolios with their social and mission-based values. Athena’s suburban-Boston location deepens our reach in the New England area, increasing the breadth and depth of our offering and enhancing the value we can bring to clients of both firms," Dowd further noted.

"We are confident that Athena Capital Advisors’ experience and customized approach to wealth management — combined with Fiduciary Trust Company International’s investment excellence, extensive trust and estate, tax, and digital expertise and resources — will help optimize the client experience for families and generations to come," said Jenny Johnson, president and COO of Franklin Templeton.

Conclusion

Franklin’s inorganic growth activities reflect capital strength and efforts to bolster its performance. Increasing outflows in asset management business due to investors moving toward lower fee passively managed funds has forced asset managers to explore acquisition opportunities with wealth advisers as attractive targets. Notably, steady fees and growing demand for advice has made these firms attractive buyouts. Additionally, Franklin will likely benefit from improving conditions in the domestic economy as well.

Nonetheless, its performance and profitability might be hampered due to volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions.

Over the past year, shares of Franklin have lost around 15.6%, as against the industry’s growth of 9.2%. The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).



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