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Franklin Templeton Buys Digital Wealth Platform AdvisorEngine

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Franklin Resources — the parent firm of fund manager Franklin Templeton — has bought digital wealth platform AdvisorEngine for an undisclosed amount. 

The deal comes less than three months after the Silicon Valley-based mutual fund giant acquired asset manager Legg Mason for $4.5 billion and follows similar moves by rivals.

“Congratulations to @AdvisorEngine on its sale to @FTI_US following other mega asset managers diversifying into digital wealth (@blackrock/ @FutureAdvisor, @InvescoUS/@Jemstep),” said technology consultant Gavin Spitzner on Twitter. “Known mainly as a B2B #robo@AdvisorEngine has built out an extensive digital wealth platform … .”

AdvisorEngine, which WisdomTree Investments previously owned a large stake in, provides technology and other services to about 1,200 RIAs and other firms with some $600 billion in assets. Its open-architecture platform relies on smart automation technology and includes the CRM product Junxure.

“AdvisorEngine will enable financial advisors in the U.S. to access and implement our best thinking across portfolio construction and practice management,” according to Harshendu Bindal, head of Digital Strategy and Wealth Management at Franklin Templeton. 

“This acquisition is an important part of our broader global initiative to enhance support for financial advisors via digital servicing capabilities,” Bindal explained.

AdvisorEngine says its growth plans include more ties with custodians, fintech firms and asset managers and that its management will stay on to run the business as an independent unit of Franklin Templeton, which has some $580 billion in client assets and also owns wealth manager Fiduciary Trust International.

“We’re now better positioned than ever to help advisors transform how they do business, connect more deeply with clients, grow assets and scale their operations,” said AdvisorEngine founder and CEO Rich Cancro, in a statement. 

Franklin Earnings

Last week, Franklin Resources reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $0.66 per share, topping estimates but dropping from the prior year’s $0.67.

Its total assets under management fell $118 billion from the prior quarter, or 17%, mainly due to changes in the market, distributions and some $25 billion of net outflows, the firm said; during the period, it benefited from the March acquisition of RIA Athena Capital Advisors by Fiduciary Trust.

In April, the fund manager’s India unit — which has operated there for some 25 years — moved to close six mutual funds with about $3.4 billion in assets. The fixed income products held some corporate bonds that experienced redemptions and sharp declines in value.

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