Franklin Templeton Investments Proposes Canadian Mutual Fund Mergers

TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - Franklin Templeton Investments Corp. today announced proposed mergers for two Franklin Bissett funds, pending respective investor and regulatory approvals, and the merger of Franklin Bissett Treasury Bill Fund, to occur after the close of business on or around April 22, 2016.

The mergers include:

Terminating Fund:

Continuing Fund:

Franklin Bissett Canadian High Dividend Fund

Franklin Bissett Canadian Dividend Fund

Franklin Bissett Canadian High Dividend
Corporate Class

Franklin Bissett Canadian Dividend Corporate Class

Franklin Bissett Treasury Bill Fund

Franklin Bissett Money Market Fund

The proposed mergers for Franklin Bissett Canadian High Dividend Fund and Franklin Bissett Canadian High Dividend Corporate Class will be voted on at special meetings of investors to be held on or around April 8, 2016, in Toronto. A joint management information circular providing a complete description of the Franklin Bissett Canadian High Dividend Fund merger considerations and rationale will be sent to investors in late March 2016.

The merger for Franklin Bissett Treasury Bill Fund does not require an investor vote, but is subject to Independent Review Committee approval.

Investors will have until April 21, 2016, to redeem their holdings or switch to a different fund. If the mergers are approved, any remaining investors in the terminating funds will automatically have their holdings transferred to the continuing fund on a series-by-series, dollar-for-dollar basis.

Franklin Bissett Canadian High Dividend Fund and Franklin Bissett Canadian High Dividend Corporate Class proposed mergers

Since the dissolution of the Canadian income trust market at the end of 2010, the high dividend paying equities universe has narrowed substantially and now mostly comprises energy and financial companies (50 out of the 75 constituents of the S&P/TSX Composite High Dividend Index, as of December 31, 2015). This, in turn, has narrowed the opportunity set for the terminating funds and contributed to increased volatility. Thus, the continuing funds, which target the broader opportunity set of established Canadian-centric companies with a history of growing dividends, are better positioned to achieve diversification with lower volatility going forward.

Pending regulatory approval, Series I will be added to Franklin Bissett Canadian Dividend Fund, effective April 11, 2016.

Franklin Bissett Treasury Bill Fund merger

The continuing fund and the terminating fund have very similar investment objectives, however the continuing fund has a broader mandate in terms of the securities in which it can invest. While Franklin Bissett Treasury Bill Fund invests primarily in short-term government treasury bills, Franklin Bissett Money Market Fund invests in a broader array of short-term money market securities to ensure diversification and high liquidity, and pursue a higher yield and monthly income.

In conjunction with the merger, Franklin Templeton will reduce its management fee by 25 bps for Series A and Series I of the continuing fund, effective February 1, 2016.

Associated costs of the mergers

All costs and expenses associated with the mergers, including the costs of the meetings, will be borne by the manager and will not be charged to the funds. No commission or other fee will be charged to investors for exchanges from the terminating funds into the continuing funds or another Franklin Templeton fund.

Investors are encouraged to speak with their financial advisor about these changes and review their options. For account information, Franklin Templeton's client services team can be reached between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET at 1.800.387.0830 (toll-free).

About Franklin Templeton Investments
Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE: BEN] is a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management to retail, institutional and sovereign wealth clients in over 150 countries. Through specialized teams, the company has expertise across all asset classes—including equity, fixed income, alternative and custom solutions. The company's more than 600 investment professionals are supported by its integrated, worldwide team of risk management professionals and global trading desk network. With offices in 35 countries, the California–based company has more than 65 years of investment experience and over US$763 billion (C$1,056) in assets under management as of December 31, 2015.

For more information, please visit franklintempleton.ca or connect with Franklin Templeton on Twitter (@FTI_Global) and read the Beyond Bulls & Bears blog featuring perspectives from Franklin Templeton investment professionals around the world.

Copyright © 2016. Franklin Templeton Investments. All rights reserved.

SOURCE Franklin Templeton Investments Corp.

For further information: Media contact: Amie Lauder, Corporate Communications - Canada, Franklin Templeton Investments, 416.957.6560, amie.lauder@franklintempleton.ca

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