Franklin Templeton expanding in agriculture, energy

by Carey Gillam

  • Eyes investments in agriculture, energy, water
  • Cites investor demand for predictable cash flow

NEW YORK, May 10 (Reuters) - The real estate advisory unit of Franklin Templeton Investments plans to expand into agriculture, energy, water, and other areas that reflect rising demand for food and energy, the investment company said on Monday.

Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors, a unit of Franklin Resources (BEN.N), hired Joyce Shapiro, formerly of Brookfield Asset Management, to oversee the new team dedicated to analyzing, selecting and investing in real asset fund opportunities.

Shapiro said institutional investors were seeking predictable cash flows and inflation protection.

Through its real estate advisory group, Franklin Templeton Investments, with $586 billion in assets under management, has been active in real estate strategies for institutional clients since 1984.

The expansion into real assets like agriculture and water, comes as a number of different investment groups are establishing positions in global farmland and food and energy supply channels amid concerns about a growing world population and supply and demand imbalances for food, water and energy.

Before joining Franklin Templeton, Shapiro helped move Brookfield, a public operator of real assets, into the private funds management business. She also served as international director at LaSalle Investment Management and helped launch the firm’s private fund business in Asia.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Derek Caney)