Franklin Templeton appoints first female fixed income CIO
Franklin Templeton Investments has named Sonal Desai (pictured above) as chief investment officer of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, effective 31 December 31 2018, following nearly a decade of service to the firm.
In this role, Desai will oversee the firm’s corporate credit, emerging markets debt, bank loan, global aggregate, securitized, money market, multi-sector, municipal and local fixed income strategies and teams, which manage a total of $157bn in fixed income assets for investors around the world.
Desai will take on this new role upon Chris Molumphy’s retirement at the end of the year. Molumphy has decided to retire after serving as chief investment officer of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group since 2000 and 30 years with the firm.
Desai joined the firm in 2009 as director of research for Templeton Global Macro. In this role, she has worked closely with Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Macro, in leading the team’s research agenda, focusing on regional and country-specific macroeconomic analysis, as well as valuation modelling of interest rates, exchange rates and credit risks across local- and hard-currency debt markets.
When she moves into her new role, Calvin Ho (pictured left) will take her place as director of research for Templeton Global Macro, and he will assume portfolio management responsibilities for a number of Templeton Global Macro strategies, reporting directly to Hasenstab. Ho has been serving as Desai’s deputy director of research, specialising in global macroeconomic analysis and consulting with Hasenstab and Desai directly on all major portfolio decisions.
Desai will also replace Molumphy on Franklin Templeton’s Executive Committee, a small group of the company’s top leaders responsible for shaping the firm’s overall strategy, which includes investment leaders Hasenstab, Ed Perks, chief investment officer of Franklin Templeton Multi-Asset Solutions, and Stephen Dover, head of Equities.
Prior to joining Franklin Templeton, Desai was an economist with Thames River Capital after serving as director and senior economist for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in London. She started her career as an assistant professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh and then worked for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC.
Ho is one of the longest-serving members of the Templeton Global Macro team. He has worked closely with Hasenstab for more than 13 years, joining the team as a research analyst in 2005. Ho was the lead analyst on Templeton Global Macro’s successful investments in Ireland from 2011 to 2016, as well as dozens of other sovereign debt investments over his tenure. He also continues to serve as Templeton Global Macro’s lead analyst on foreign exchange modelling, with a focus on economies in Europe, Latin America and Africa.