Sir John Templeton
John Marks Templeton
29 November 1912
Winchester, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||8 July 2008 (aged 95)|
|Alma mater||Yale University|
Balliol College, Oxford
|Occupation||Investor, fund manager, and philanthropist|
|Known for||Managing the Templeton Growth Fund|
Endowing Templeton College, Oxford
Founding Templeton Religion Trust
Founding Templeton World Charity Foundation
Founding the John Templeton Foundation
Creating the Templeton Prize
|Board member of||Princeton Theological Seminary|
|Children||John Jr., Anne, Christopher|
Sir John Marks Templeton (29 November 1912 - 8 July 2008) was an American-born British investor, banker, fund manager, and philanthropist. In 1954, he entered the mutual fund market and created the Templeton Growth Fund, which averaged growth over 15% per year for 38 years. A pioneer of emerging market investing in the 1960s, Money magazine named him "arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century" in 1999.
John Marks Templeton was born in the town of Winchester, Tennessee, and attended Yale University, where he was an assistant business manager for campus humor magazine Yale Record and was selected for membership in the Elihu society. He financed a portion of his tuition with winnings from playing poker, a game at which he excelled. He graduated in 1934 near the top of his class. He attended Balliol College in Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and earned an M.A. in law. He was a CFA charterholder and was a student of the "father of value investing", Benjamin Graham.
Templeton, during the Depression of the 1930s, bought 100 shares of each NYSE listed company which was then selling for less than $1 a share ($19 today) (104 companies, 34 in bankruptcy, in 1939), later making many times the money back when US industry picked up as a result of World War II. According to Templeton, he called his broker the day World War II began and instructed him to purchase every stock trading at less than a dollar. This stratagem helped make him a wealthy man.
Templeton became a billionaire by pioneering the use of globally diversified mutual funds. His Templeton Growth Fund, Ltd. (investment fund), established in 1954, was among the first to invest in Japan in the middle of the 1960s. Templeton also created funds specifically in certain industries such as nuclear energy, chemicals, and electronics. By 1959, Templeton went public, with five funds and more than 66 million dollars under management.
Money magazine in 1999 called him "arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century". Templeton attributed much of his success to his ability to maintain an elevated mood, avoid anxiety and stay disciplined. He rejected technical analysis for stock trading, preferring instead to use fundamental analysis.
Despite the name of his flagship fund, Templeton Growth Fund, he was more a practitioner of value investing rather than growth investing. Templeton focused on buying stocks he calculated were substantially undervalued, holding them until selling when their price rose to fair market value. His average holding period was about four years. He believed holding assets priced above fair market value in hopes they would further increase in price was speculation, not investing. However, Templeton did not buy stocks merely because they were undervalued but also took care investing in companies he determined were profitable, well-managed and with good long-term potential.
By emphasizing overlooked or unpopular stocks Templeton was in many ways a contrarian and became known for his "avoiding the herd" and "buy when there's blood in the streets" philosophy to take advantage of market turmoil. He also was known for taking profits when values and expectations were high. He was among the earliest American investors to devote substantial focus to investment opportunities in then-overlooked foreign markets such as Asia and Eastern Europe. Always on the lookout for bargain-priced stocks and hoping to avoid expensive stocks, he rotated out of Japanese stocks as they became more fashionable in the 1970s and turned to US stocks when they were at historic lows.
In 2005, he wrote a brief memorandum predicting that within five years there would be financial chaos in the world, anticipating a collapse of the housing market and decline in yields on government-issued bonds to near zero. Templeton also predicted within the next few decades a major decrease in traditional schooling due to internet-based learning options. Initially privately circulated to family and a small number of Franklin-Templeton management, the memo was eventually made public in 2010.
Uninterested in consumerism, he lived relatively frugally, drove his own car, never flew first-class and lived year-round in the Bahamas. A friend jokingly described Templeton as Calvinist in his approach to wealth: "He believes it's okay to make money so long as you don't enjoy it."
Templeton married Judith Folk in 1937, and the couple had three children: John, Anne, and Christopher. Judith Templeton died in February 1951 in a motorbike accident. He remarried, to Irene Reynolds Butler in 1958; she died in 1993. A Christian, he was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. He served as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood (Englewood, New Jersey). He was a trustee on the board of Princeton Theological Seminary, the largest Presbyterian seminary, for 42 years and served as its chair for 12 years.
On 8 July 2008, Templeton died at Doctors Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas, of pneumonia at 12:20. He was 95, and was survived by two sons, one of whom, John Templeton Jr., has since died, in 2015, of brain cancer.
Templeton was one of the most generous philanthropists in history, giving away over $1 billion to charitable causes. Templeton renounced his US citizenship in 1964, allowing him to avoid paying $100 million that he would have paid in US income taxes when he sold his international investment fund, instead channeling the funds toward his philanthropy efforts. He held dual naturalised Bahamian and British citizenship and lived in the Bahamas.
In 2007, Templeton was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People (Time 100) under the category of "Power Givers". Templeton was given this honour for his "pursuit of spiritual understanding, often through scientific research" through his establishment of the John Templeton Foundation.
As a philanthropist, Templeton established:
Templeton College is now closely associated with Oxford's Saïd Business School. In 2007, Templeton College transferred its executive education program to Saïd Business School. In 2008, Templeton College merged with Green College to form Green Templeton College. This is one of the exceptional mergers in recent history of the University of Oxford.
He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1987 for his philanthropic efforts. Templeton was inducted into the Junior Achievement US Business Hall of Fame in 1996, and in 2003 awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership.
Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) is a global charitable trust chartered by Sir John Templeton in 1984, with headquarters in Nassau, The Bahamas, where Sir John lived until his death in 2008. TRT has been active since 2012 and supports projects and the dissemination of results from projects seeking to enrich the conversation about religion via three broad initiatives:
TRT's aim is to improve the well-being of individuals and societies through spiritual growth and an ever-improving understanding of spiritual realities and spiritual information.
TRT is the first of three charitable entities established by Sir John Templeton. The other entities are the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton World Charity Foundation. While all three organizations have similar aims, they operate as separate charitable entities.
As a member of the Presbyterian Church, Templeton was dedicated to his faith. However, Templeton eschewed dogma and declared relatively little was known about the divine through scripture, espousing what he called a "humble approach" to theology and remaining open to the benefits and values of other faiths. Commenting on his commitment to what he called spiritual progress, "But why shouldn't I try to learn more? Why shouldn't I go to Hindu services? Why shouldn't I go to Muslim services? If you are not egotistical, you will welcome the opportunity to learn more." Similarly, one of the major goals of the John Templeton Foundation is to proliferate the monetary support of spiritual discoveries. The John Templeton Foundation encourages research into "big questions" by awarding philanthropic aid to institutions and people who pursue the answers to such questions through "explorations into the laws of nature and the universe, to questions on the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity."
In an interview published in the Financial Intelligence Report in 2005, Templeton asserts that the purpose of the John Templeton Foundation is as follows:"We are trying to persuade people that no human has yet grasped 1% of what can be known about spiritual realities. So we are encouraging people to start using the same methods of science that have been so productive in other areas, in order to discover spiritual realities."