As we have already seen, John Templeton’s investment career falls into a number of distinct, but overlapping, phases. In this chapter, we concentrate on his early career as an investment counselor, which broadly spans the two decades between 1940 and 1960. Although this period of his life was to make him a wealthy and respected businessman in the United States, one who appeared more than once in the pages of the business press, it was not until the 1970s, when he was already in his sixties, that he was to become globally known and respected as a figure of substance in the international investment business.
His early professional years, before he moved into the higher profile and more profitable business of fund management, are nevertheless full of interest. It was during this period that many of the ideas with which he is now widely associated were first formulated, as can be seen in the internal memos and letters that he sent to the firm’s clients. A small selection of these is reproduced, in full or in part, in this chapter. More examples are reproduced in the appendix. Although written more than 50 years ago, the clarity of thought and expression that they display provide some fascinating clues to the character and intellect of their author. However rapidly the world may change, the fundamentals of sound investment remain the same from one generation to the next.
As far as we know, John Templeton’s decision to become an investment counselor had ...