Investors Against Genocide's Proposal to Be Voted on by Franklin Resources' Shareholders

  Investors Against Genocide's Proposal to Be Voted on by Franklin Resources'
  Shareholders

    Local and national human rights and religious groups issue open letter
                       supporting shareholder proposal

Business Wire

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- January 25, 2013

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
shareholders at Franklin Resources, known as Franklin Templeton Investments,
will have an opportunity to vote on a shareholder proposal on genocide-free
investing at the annual meeting on March 13, 2013. The proposal, which is the
first shareholder proposal to appear on the company’s proxy ballot in nineteen
years and possibly the first ever, requests “that the Board institute
transparent procedures to avoid holding or recommending investments in
companies that, in management's judgment, substantially contribute to genocide
or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights.”
Franklin Resources is opposing the proposal.

Shareholders approved a similar genocide-free investing proposal at the ING
Emerging Countries Fund in June 2012 by a wide margin with 59.2% of votes in
favor of the proposal and only 10.8% opposed. According to a market research
study conducted by KRC Research in 2010, 88% of Americans would like their
mutual funds to be genocide-free. Further, a new US SIF report, “2012Report
on Sustainable and Responsible InvestingTrends in the United States,”
supports the importance of Sudan-related investment policies as a key
shareholder concern. Most strikingly, the reportfound that Sudan is the top
ESG consideration forinstitutional investors.

Also, 35 local and national human rights and religious groups joined by
genocide and corporate governance scholars sent an open letter to Charles
Johnson, Rupert Johnson and Gregory Johnson, senior executives of the company
who collectively own 32% of outstanding shares. The letter was signed by local
groups such as the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Bay
Area Darfur Coalition, as well as national groups such as American Jewish
World Service, the Enough Project, the Armenian National Committee of America,
the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Jewish Council of Public
Affairs. It was also signed by notable genocide and corporate governance
scholars.

The letter asks the company to voluntarily adopt the proposed genocide-free
investing policy. It states, “We are concerned that management’s opposition to
the proposal, combined with the many institutional shareholders that will
follow your recommendation, will dramatically skew the vote against the wishes
of average investors. This concern is magnified by the fact that insider
investors, particularly the Johnson family, hold very large percentages of the
outstanding shares. Therefore we are appealing to you directly, in advance of
the proxy vote, to institute transparent procedures to avoid holding
investments in companies that, in management’s judgment, substantially
contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity.”

The proposal was submitted to Franklin Resources as part of an ongoing
shareholder action led by Investors Against Genocide, a citizen-led
initiative, dedicated to convincing mutual funds and other investment firms to
make a commitment to genocide-free investing. Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN)
owned 1,479,642,253 shares of PetroChina, as of December 2011. That holding
amounted to 7% of the shares outstanding of PetroChina, a company widely
recognized, according to Investors Against Genocide, as contributing to the
genocide in Sudan. Currently, half a million people in the South Kordofan and
Blue Nile regions of Sudan are facing relentless aerial attacks, violent
displacement, and starvation due to the Sudanese government’s ongoing military
assaults. Ongoing government-sponsored genocide in Sudan has spanned more than
two decades and resulted in the death of over 2.5 million innocent civilians.

Contact:

Investors Against Genocide
Susan Morgan, 617-797-0451
smorgan@investorsagainstgenocide.org