It seems likely that many readers, except perhaps for those that knew Sir John, would have been surprised to see only occasional mention of financial analysis, models, investment rules, or so on, but instead a list of well-defined and reasoned character traits.
by Lauren Templeton, principal and portfolio manager of Lauren Templeton Capital Management, LLC, and Scott Phillips, portfolio manager and contributor to The Templeton Touch
The re-release of The Templeton Touch provided us with an obvious occasion to reflect upon another of the great blessings in our lives which was having the privilege to work for a number of years with our mentor, Sir John Templeton. Perhaps what is lesser known about his influence among investors (including ourselves), was that it extended far beyond any passion for investment or security analysis and instead into the realm of one’s set of values and perspective on life. Within the special section that Scott added to this revision, this was a constant theme that naturally took hold—if not dominated—these interview discussions with investment luminaries.
Although Sir John will always be recalled for the specific illustrations he provided for successful investing, such as pioneering global investing, his contrarian-minded purchases, etc., it was his character and example as a human being that left the strongest impressions among the acquaintances that contributed to the book.
Likewise, through the explorative dialogue of these interviews a consensus was reached that Sir John often took an interest in individuals who possessed a certain passion for learning, the joy of life, and upholding a standard of high integrity above all else.
When William Proctor first sat down with Sir John in the early 1980s to write the original version of The Templeton Touch, there was clearly a great effort put forth to reveal the underlying factors to Sir John’s success as an investor. It seems likely that many readers, except perhaps for those that knew Sir John, would have been surprised to see only occasional mention of financial analysis, models, investment rules, or so on, but instead a list of well-defined and reasoned character traits. Admittedly, some of these traits people are born with to some degree, and some others need to be cultivated from the ground up. No matter what the starting position however, the below excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Templeton Touch represents to us a basic template for success, and in this case success can be defined in the field of investment, but also more broadly in “the game of life” so to speak.
For that matter, these are the same ideals that we practice, strive for, and measure ourselves against for progress. In sum, we believe that the standards we maintain in these areas will ultimately define our level of success as investors, which is most appropriately measured by us, you, and other observers as an ability to safely compound returns in the market above what is commonly available through the market indices. Hopefully, you too will find the excerpt below helpful in your own self-examinations as an investor, or otherwise.