Carlos Hardenberg, who has been part of Templeton’s emerging markets team for 13 years, will replace Mobius as lead manager. Mobius will continue as a portfolio manager on the trust.
Hardenberg will relocate to London as part of the reorganisation, which will take effect from 1 October.
Mobius said: ‘The Templeton Emerging Markets Group routinely reviews portfolio management assignments and makes changes based on what we believe is in the best interests of our clients.’
The trust’s chair Peter Smith added: ‘We believe that the appointment of Carlos Hardenberg as lead portfolio manager, supported by Mark Mobius and Chetan Sehgal, will provide renewed focus for the next stage in the company’s development.’
Although the fund’s long-term record remains intact with a 10-year shareholder return of 184%, helped by an impressive rally after the financial crisis, it has gone off the boil since then, hit by the downturn in emerging markets and its unfashionable value-investment style. The shares are down 1.7% over five years and trading at a 10.4% discount.
‘We believe that the change in management responsibilities has been made in order to reassure investors,’ said analysts at Numis.
‘It is interesting that Carlos Hardenberg and Chetan Sehgal specialise in frontier markets and small cap, respectively, and time will tell if this leads to any change in focus for the trust over time. However, we don not expect and change to the long-term, value-oriented approach.’
Speculation has long mounted over a succesor to Mobius, who is 78 years old. Hardenberg, Sehgal and Allan Lam, who had taken on a stock selection role for the trust, were among the most senior members on the 53-strong Templeton emerging markets team.
Numis analysts said Lam was ‘unimpressive at a recent analyst meeting, in our view, with no convincing explanation for the degree of recent underperformance’.
Shares in the trust inched 0.1% higher to 504.2p on the news.