Sir John Templeton was, by common repute, one of the most successful and best-known professional investors of the past 100 years, as well as an outstanding philanthropist, knighted by the queen of the United Kingdom in 1987 for his many years of charitable work. Forbes magazine dubbed him “the dean of global investing,” in recognition of the trail he blazed in seeking to invest across the world when others were too afraid to do so. Louis Rukeyser, host of Wall Street Week, a popular network television program, on which Templeton appeared many times, said that this “quiet, deeply religious man” was “one of the genuine heroes of Wall Street.” Prem Watsa, a Canadian fund manager, described Templeton more recently as a “wonderful man and, for all practical purposes, perhaps the greatest investor of all time.”1
The detailed research we publish in this book confirms that John Templeton was indeed one of very few professionals who can rightly claim, hand on heart, to have consistently obtained the Holy Grail of stock market investment—above average returns with below average risk. In his case this was a record that he sustained for the best part of half a century. His best-known mutual fund, the Templeton Growth Fund, never once in 38 years under his guidance failed to deliver a positive real (inflation-adjusted) return over any 60-month period. This is a record that only a handful of other professional investors can claim to have achieved over such a long period.
Four years ...