An actual tweet, to be clear

Making fun of corporate brands embarrassing themselves online is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s not hard, but washing off the resulting splatter of blood, scales, innards and half-digested crab is, so no one wins.

Honestly though, what the hell Franklin?


Another actual tweet, to be clear

OK maybe Alphaville should tread carefully here, given some readers see our ~cough~ somewhat different approach to news and commentary as at odds with mainFT’s brand.

But like Meb Faber we prefer our trillion-dollar asset management groups to be boring. Stick to solid, sober and purportedly smart investing. Don’t tweet that 60/40 retirement portfolios should include “assets” where it gleefully says “speculation is a feature, not a bug”.

Especially when said asset manager was famously named after Benjamin Franklin, because according to founder Rupert Johnson he “epitomised the ideas of frugality and prudence when it came to saving and investing”.

We get that Franklin needs to revamp itself. Despite a spate of aggressive M&A swelling its assets to $1.4tn, its share price has sagged over the past decade, giving it a current market cap of $13.6bn. That’s less than AppLovin, Domino’s Pizza and the world’s biggest producer of frozen potato chips. It’s only barely enough for inclusion into the S&P 500.

Beyond the obvious and well-documented challenges of being a very traditional active asset manager in a world that mostly loves alternatives and passive funds, Franklin also has a rep for being a bit old-fashioned.

Promoting crypto therefore probably seems like an obvious, fellow-kids way to seem more cool and edgy.

And yes, if those in charge of important stuff give control of the main X account to the bitcoin ETF’s hype team for a day, who really cares?

But we’d suggest that Franklin should have other priorities.

With about 40 per cent of its assets in fixed-income funds, Franklin could benefit from the peak-rates wave of money coming back into bonds. So it should focus on fixing poor performance there — Morgan Stanley points out that its five-year results have been mediocre — rather than fiddling around with crypto and devaluing its brand with silly laser-eyed stunts (it didn’t work for Tom Brady either).

It feels fitting to quote Jamie Dimon to end this post.

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