Franklin Templeton strengthens emerging markets China equity team

Michael Lai will serve as portfolio manager focusing on China equity strategies from August 5, has over three decades of investment experience

Michael Lai
Michael Lai

Franklin Templeton has appointed Michael Lai as senior vice president and portfolio manager, China Equities within Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity’s (FTEME) China investment team. Lai will join the firm on August 5 and serve as a portfolio manager focusing on China equity strategies.

Lai will be based in Hong Kong and will report to Sukumar Rajah, senior managing director, director of portfolio management, Asia equity for FTEME. Lai will replace Eddie Chow who will be retiring from Franklin Templeton after 25 years of service to the firm, effective September 1.

Lai brings over three decades of investment experience and joins the firm from GAM Investments, where he was lead portfolio manager of GAM’s China equity strategy since its inception in 2007. He also headed GAM’s Asian equity team in Hong Kong and was lead portfolio manager of GAM’s Asian strategy and co-manager for additional strategies.

Previously, he held similar roles managing Asian equity strategies for Trust Company of the West (Asia) and BZW, having begun his investment career at Lehman Global Asset Management in 1989. Lai holds an MSc in Econometrics from the London School of Economics and is a CFA® charterholder.

“China’s significance as one of the largest economies and fastest growing investment destinations for our clients continues to increase. Deepening our bench to add proven investment talent focused on China, therefore, continues to be a key priority for Franklin Templeton,” says Manraj Sekhon, CIO for FTEME. “Michael is a highly experienced and proven investor in this arena and this appointment along with the recent additions of Jason Zhu and Yu-Jen Shih, reflects our commitment to continuing to build out our China and Asia equity investment platform.”

Rajah comments, “FTEME’s focus on sustainable earnings power at a discount to intrinsic worth is very consistent with Michael’s style-agnostic approach of looking for companies with high barriers to entry, strong balance sheets, competitive advantages, growing market share, and upward earnings revision potential.”

Chow joined the company in 1994 and most recently served as a portfolio manager of FTEME’s China equity strategy.

Franklin Templeton has been conducting on-the-ground research in China equities since 1987, managing China equity portfolios since 1994 and dedicated China A shares portfolios since 2010. The firm’s China equities investment team consists of investment professionals in its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices as well as a collaboration with its Sealand joint venture.

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