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Worlds' Greatest Investors Part 15; Sir John Templeton

We profile some of the greatest investors in the world. Their achievements have influenced and inspired many. In Part 15; we feature John Templeton.




John Templeton



1. Who Was He?

Sir John Templeton, 29 November 1912 to 8 July 2008, was an American born stock investor, businessman and philanthropist.


2. Background

Templeton was an investor and mutual fund pioneer, born in Tennessee. He attended Yale University in 1934, graduating top of his BA Law class. He was also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder. He received AIMR's first award for professional excellence in 1991. Templeton married Judith Folk in 1937 and the couple had three children: John Jr, Anne and Christopher. Judith died in February 1951.

He then married Irene Reynolds Butler in 1958; she died in 1993. He was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. He was a trustee on the board of Princeton Theological Seminary, the largest Presbyterian seminary, for 42 years and served as its chair for 12 years. Templeton became a billionaire by pioneering the use of globally diversified mutual funds. His Templeton Growth, Ltd. investment fund established in 1954, was among the first to invest in Japan in the middle of the 1960s. He is noted for buying 100 shares of each company trading for less than $1 a share in 1939 and making money by selling at $5 and higher over a 4 year period. In 2006 he featured on the Sunday Times Rich List.

He rejected technical analysis for stock trading, preferring instead to use fundamental analysis. Money magazine in 1999 called him "arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century”. He renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1968, thus avoiding U.S. income taxes. He had dual naturalised Bahamian and British citizenships and lived in the Bahamas. As a philanthropist, Templeton established:


  • The John Templeton Foundation
  • The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities in 1972
  • The Templeton Library in Sewanee, Tennessee


In 1984 he endowed the Oxford Centre for Management Studies as a full college, Templeton College, of the University of Oxford, focusing on business and management studies. In 2007, Templeton College sold its executive education program to Saïd Business School. This is one of the exceptional mergers in recent history of the University of Oxford. Templeton was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1996.

In 2007, Templeton was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People. Templeton was given many honors for his pursuit of spiritual understanding, often through scientific research. Templeton attributed much of his success to his ability to maintain an elevated mood, avoid anxiety and stay disciplined. Uninterested in consumerism, he drove his own car, never flew first class and lived in his peaceful ocean side home in the Bahamas.

Templeton became known for his "avoiding the herd" and "buy when there's blood in the streets" philosophy. He also was known for taking profits when values and expectations were high. As a member of the Presbyterian Church, Templeton was dedicated to his faith. However, Templeton remained open to the benefits and values of other faiths. One of the major goals of the Templeton Foundation is to proliferate the monetary support of spiritual discoveries.

The Templeton Foundation encourages research into big questions by awarding philanthropic aide to institutions and people who pursue the answers to such questions through explorations into the laws of nature and the universe, to questions on the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity. On 8 July 2008, Templeton died of pneumonia, at age 95.




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