Sir John Templeton passes away

Date: Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Author: Bryan Borzykowski,

Sir John Templeton, a legend in the Canadian investment industry, has passed away. Templeton, who introduced global equity investing to Canadians with his Templeton Growth Fund, died in hospital in the Bahamas Tuesday morning. He was 95 years old.

The Winchester, Tennessee-born investor and philanthropist is best known for creating the Templeton Growth Fund, one of the first mutual funds that offered North Americans the ability to invest in foreign companies. The fund was created in 1954 and, on average, has returned about 14.5% a year. With huge returns like that, anyone who invested $100,000 when the fund started would have had $55 million in 1999.

One of Templeton's mantras was "invest worldwide." He took that to heart by investing in Japan before virtually anyone else, and making big financial gains there. He later applied his strategies in South Korea, among other foreign markets.

But Templeton's success didn't solely come from investing in growing parts of the world, it was how he invested there. One of the financial guru's most famous quotes, and one that especially applies in today's turbulent markets was, "The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell." In other words, Templeton sought out undervalued companies and sold his stake in them when their value shot up. "Focus on value because most investors focus on outlooks and trends," he has said.