Franklin Templeton has created a new team to support the growth of alternative solutions in the wealth channel.

In a statement on 4 June, it said London-based George Szemere (pictured below), who was previously head of business development, alternatives, EMEA has been appointed as head of alternatives EMEA wealth management.

Szemere and his team will focus on the distribution of Franklin Templeton’s private market solutions to the EMEA wealth channel as well as strengthening the firm’s strategic partnerships.

Additionally, to lead the development of alternative product solutions, Jake Williams (main picture at top) has been appointed as head of international alternatives product strategy.

Williams brings 15 years of experience in product development and in this role. He is responsible for the research and development of new alternative products excluding the US.

Williams joined Franklin Templeton from Barings in July 2023 where he led their global product strategy team. Previously, he was head of US product at Legal & General Investment Management.

Williams has also held various product roles at HSBC Asset Management, BlackRock and Lehman Brothers Investment Management.

Szemere said: “Franklin Templeton has over 75-years of experience serving retail investors and developing innovative solutions to meet client needs. With the acquisitions of Benefit Street Partners, Clarion Partners, Lexington Partners, and Alcentra in 2022, the firm has taken a deliberate and strategic approach to growing its global alternatives platform which today manages over $255 billion2 in alternative assets.

“Building on our success in the US and leveraging existing wealth solution capabilities, our ambition is to enable access to our deep bench of specialist alternative managers and strategies, through one relationship with a singular focus of helping the wealth channel build better investment outcomes for their respective clients. As private asset solutions in the wealth channel continue to gain momentum, we are committed to further expanding the team across client servicing and marketing roles.”

Williams said: “In the last couple of years, there has been a confluence of events in EMEA that are driving the democratisation of alternative investments similar to what has been seen in the U.S. Firstly, the current market environment highlights the need for a more robust and sophisticated toolbox for the wealth channel.

"Secondly, we see that product innovation, resulting from regulatory changes, has helped usher in more investor-friendly vehicles to deliver alternative investments and, finally, access to dedicated alternative managers has been critical to develop quality products targeted at the wealth channel. All of these elements, combined with the development of technology and improving infrastructures, have helped to democratise alternative investments.”

Szemere added: “As wealth clients look at solutions to diversify their traditional asset allocation models, we see heightened interest on how allocating to alternative asset classes might support the creation of better outcomes for their end clients, and the need for both education and product solutions.”

“Alongside our specialist alternative managers’ world-class investment expertise, the firm’s ongoing commitment to investing in distribution, training, and education initiatives, uniquely positions us to work with distribution partners to capture the growth opportunity in the EMEA wealth management channel. This regional initiative follows our success in the US where we have an established and dedicated alternatives wealth solutions team, delivering both product and award-winning educational content via the FT Academy and FT Institute."

The EMEA Alternatives Wealth Management team is part of Franklin Templeton’s growing and dedicated alternatives platform that extends beyond traditional investment offerings.

The firm’s autonomous specialist investment managers, each with deep domain expertise, provide a diverse range of alternative asset capabilities including private credit offerings from Benefit Street Partners and Alcentra, commercial real estate from Clarion Partners, social infrastructure from Franklin Real Assets Advisors, hedged strategies from K2 Advisors and secondary private equity and co-investments from Lexington Partners.

Franklin Templeton managed over $255bn in alternative assets as of 30 April 2024.