SIR JOHN Templeton is the founder of the Templeton group, one of the oldest and largest mutual fund management groups in the world.

Sir John recognized the importance of sound investment approaches. He has been quoted as saying, ãInvestors are the people who buy for fundamental values. Spectulators are those who buy in the hope of selling later to someone else at high prices.ä

Investment strategies have been changing lately. The style that is successful one week may not deliver the returns the next.

To deal with this uncertainty, the Templeton group has teamed up with the Franklin Funds and the Mutual Series Funds.

All three bring to the table a unique investment style.

Templeton is a value style investor. Franklin has a growth bias. Mutual looks for special investment opportunities in distressed securities and corporate mergers.

The three groups combine their talents in the Franklin Templeton Investment Funds. They offer funds in about 20 countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada, India and Singapore.

There are about 35 funds offered to offshore investors. The combination of investment styles under one group gives an investor maximum diversification and flexibility to move among funds.

Dr. Mark Mobius became synonymous with the group in his exhaustive search of emerging market investments.

He was selected as one of the 10 top money managers of the 20th century by the Carson Group. Reuters voted him the top Global Emerging Markets fund manager in 1998. This year he created a new type of fund, the Templeton Emerging Markets Innovations Fund.

The Emerging Markets Innovations Fund was established in March. It is a value-oriented fund that seeks companies that are in the forefront of their industry in emerging markets. Some 40 per cent of the fund is invested in Israel and 18 per cent is in South Korea. Companies include Hyundia Electronics Company and Formula Systems Ltd. The three month return has been 5.3 per cent. This fund is an example of the unique investment style of the Franklin Templeton Funds.

The Mutual European Fund is another unique approach. It was founded in 1996 and has about $933 million under management in the U.S. The fund has been awarded a four star Morningstar rating. It is also available offshore. It has a value-oriented approach with a twist. It looks for value to be added to companies involved in mergers, consolidations, liquidations and reorganizations. Sixty-five per cent of its assets are invested in companies established in Europe or who earn 50 per cent of their revenues in Europe. It has generated an average annual total return of 22 per cent over the last four years. As a third style example, there is the Franklin Floating Rate Fund, Plc. It was ranked as the number one such fund in 1999 by Micropal. It generated an 8.5 per cent return in its onshore version. An offshore version was launched in April. The fund provides monthly distributions. It intends to provide investors with a high level of current income while protecting capital.

The Floating Rate Fund uses ãSenior Secured Floating Notesä. These are three to 10 year loans issued by banks and institutions to companies for acquisitions, capital restructures or other high leverage transactions. The loans reset periodically to reflect current market rates. Franklin in turn buys these notes from the issuing institutions.

Floating Notes may protect shareholderâs purchasing power when interest rates climb. Yet, they retain their earning power when rates decline. When interest rates fell in 1995, the 30-year T-bond declined by two percentage points to a 5.96 per cent yield. Senior secured floating rates returned 9.31 per cent.

These loans may be rated higher than bonds issued by the same company. This is because they are secured by company assets. Bonds are typically unsecured. The floating rate loans in the Franklin fund have asset coverage of about 150 per cent when the loan is originated. Collateral may include inventory, receivables, capital equipment or patents.

The Franklin Templeton Investment Fund offers three distinct investment styles. Yet even their growth funds look for growth at a reasonable price. By offering a variety of investment styles, the group hopes to provide investors with a more stable portfolio. Value stocks and growth stocks donât usually move in tandem. In a given year, one style will outperform the other. A combination of investment styles in a portfolio can mean that investors will receive a benefit from the style in favour.

ð Patrice Horner is vice president with Osprey Investments, a division of Anchor Investment Management Ltd.