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Franklin Templeton Futures Program: Developing Young Talent for 40 Years


Franklin Templeton Futures Program: Developing Young Talent for 40 Years
An idea that was originally scribbled on a napkin has grown into a global program at Franklin Templeton, helping to develop young talent in the investment industry for the past 40 years. The program, originally called the Management Training Program, was launched in San Mateo, CA in 1983 as a leadership development program and pipeline of talent into various departments within the company.
Over the years, the program has evolved to meet the changing needs of the business and is now known as the Futures Program. It continues to match diverse and highly skilled early-career talent with high-growth areas of the company. According to Jenny Johnson, President and CEO of Franklin Templeton, attracting and retaining talented colleagues is key to the company’s success. The Futures Program helps identify strong new employees, provide exposure to different areas of the company, and find the right job that fits their skills and career aspirations.
Futures Associates (FAs) complete six four-month rotations in different areas of the business over the course of two years. The first year focuses on building a foundation for FAs by learning about Franklin Templeton’s business, culture, and values while being exposed to product and client-focused areas of the business. The second year prepares FAs for placement by building stronger relationships and shaping their learning path to align with their career goals.
This year, fifteen FAs joined the firm, bringing a variety of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. The 2023 incoming US class attended a special 40th anniversary celebration in San Mateo as part of their orientation. Additionally, this year marked the return of the program to the UK for the first time since 2008.
Two members of the inaugural 1983 class of the Management Training Program at Franklin Templeton, Penny Alexander and Tom Runkel, share their memories of the program. Penny, who is now the Chief Human Resources Officer at Franklin Templeton, recalls being thrilled to join the program and her first rotation in sales and marketing being a big “wow” moment for her. Tom, who is now the VP of Portfolio Strategies for Multi-Sector Separately Managed Accounts, was excited to be accepted into the program and looked forward to his journey as a Management Trainee at Franklin Templeton.
Both Penny and Tom have taken valuable lessons from the program that they still use today. Penny emphasizes the importance of being open to learning and taking advantage of new opportunities, as well as building a network and brand across the organization. Tom highlights the importance of teamwork and building relationships across the company.
When asked what advice they would give to current Futures Associates (FAs), Penny encourages them to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them, be open to new experiences, and build their brand as they rotate through different departments. Tom advises FAs not to be too focused on where they want to end up, but instead to enjoy the experience and learn how different groups within Franklin Templeton interact and play an important role in delivering positive experiences and outcomes to clients. Both Penny and Tom emphasize the importance of building relationships and friendships along the way.
Current and former Futures Associates (FAs) at Franklin Templeton have shared the benefits of the program. Brock Wilkins, a Futures Associate in the Mutual Series Research department in New York, believes that the main benefit of the program is exploration. He appreciates the opportunity to gain marketable work experience in a variety of sectors within finance and to meet and work with great people in the industry.
Mike Reed, VP of Digital Assets Strategic Partnerships in Chicago and a member of the class of 2000, values the chance to try out different career paths while working at the same firm. He rotated through four groups before finding his passion and landing in a role that played to his strengths and interests.
Marcus Wong, a Futures Associate in the Australia Fixed Income department in Hong Kong, highlights the opportunities to explore passions, areas of interest, and build new relationships as the main benefits of the program. FAs can enhance their perspectives and acquire a variety of experiences from different departments before placing with a team that interests them.
Lexi Perry, a Portfolio Associate in Data Science and Digital Lending Strategies in San Mateo, appreciates the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of Franklin Templeton’s differentiated product suite while obtaining exposure to diverse business functions across the organization. She credits the outstanding mentorship she received during her time in the program for helping her network across the organization and create lasting connections that still benefit her in her current role.
Some fun facts about the Futures Program include that over 175 program alumni still work at Franklin Templeton, there are currently 11 FAs and 15 incoming FAs for 2023, and the largest class was in 1998 with 121 associates.