My guest today is Jenny Johnson, President and CEO of one of the world’s largest asset managers, Franklin Templeton. Jenny joined the business in 1988 and has worked in the organization ever since. In early 2020 she became CEO of Franklin, which now manages some $1.5 trillion. I should, of course, note that I met Jenny as our two firms explored a partnership, which we cemented 3 months ago when we announced that Franklin Templeton would be acquiring O'Shaughnessy Asset Management.
During our conversation, we discuss Jenny’s thoughts on leadership, how she manages the needle-moving problem that afflicts many large companies, and the ways in which she sees private markets becoming more accessible to retail investors in the future. Please enjoy this great conversation with Jenny Johnson.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
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[00:03:19] - [First question] - The four P’s of leadership and what she thinks are the most important roles of a CEO
[00:06:00] - The difficulty of finding and recruiting great people and keeping them invested
[00:07:18] - Things she looks for in her senior leadership team
[00:07:59] - Knowing when to be more or less involved as a leader
[00:09:30] - Her takeaways from working in a family-owned business
[00:11:20] - Advice she’d give to families who are building businesses together
[00:12:06] - Thoughts on the role technology will play in the asset management industry
[00:16:13] - Costs and frictions that blockchains could alleviate
[00:18:17] - General views on disruption and considering ones position when thinking about the future
[00:20:09] - Knowing when to start a project internally or acquire an existing project
[00:23:10] - The hardest things about effective M&A decisions
[00:23:42] - Overseeing a hybrid model of singular focus between multiple investment groups
[00:28:26] - The pros and cons of active management against passive adoption
[00:31:15] - Costs and fees in the industry and how they might change in the future
[00:33:04] - Talking to clients when they don’t have one specific view on strategy
[00:34:57] - When consensus is helpful and appropriate for making important decisions
[00:36:10] - Formative experiences in her career that has shaped her worldview
[00:38:34] - Managing emotions through seemingly chaotic situations
[00:39:13] - The impacts on psychology when being a top performer and an average one
[00:41:15] - Managing and adapting strategy when faced with highs and lows
[00:42:55] - Acquiring alternative managers and defining what alternative assets are
[00:46:26] - Relevant trends on how capital is pooled and their client base over time
[00:47:52] - What is under-discussed in the world of asset management today writ large
[00:49:01] - Other leaders she’s met or knows that have had her in awe
[00:50:30] - What about Cathie Wood has made her story and approach so successful
[00:51:38] - How she runs a great board meeting and ways to improve meetings themselves
[00:53:34] - Lessons learned about time management as the leader of a public company
[00:54:52] - What purpose means to her
[00:56:18] - Ways we can incentivize young and new people to start investing
[00:59:10] - Her favorite things that her dad has taught her and how she’d describe him
[01:00:57] - What has her most excited about the future
[01:01:34] - The kindest thing that anyone has ever done for her