SAN MATEO, Calif., April 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Franklin Universal Trust [NYSE:FT], a closed-end investment company managed by Franklin Advisers, Inc. announced today its Board of Trustees was re-elected by shareholders and all proposals to amend or eliminate the Fund’s fundamental investment restrictions as described in the Fund’s proxy materials were approved by shareholders at the Fund’s 2019 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting.
Effective immediately, the Fund may invest a small portion of its total assets in loans originated through on-line marketplace lending platforms (a “Platform”) that provide a marketplace for lending through the purchase of loans (either individually or in aggregations) (“Marketplace Loans”) and other types of marketplace lending instruments. The Fund’s investments in Marketplace Loans may include: (i) direct investments in Marketplace Loans to consumers, small- and mid-sized companies, and other borrowers; (ii) investments in notes or other pass-through obligations issued by a Platform representing the right to receive the principal and interest payments on a Marketplace Loan; (iii) investments in asset-backed securities representing ownership in a pool of Marketplace Loans; and (iv) investments in public or private investment funds that purchase Marketplace Loans.
Franklin Advisers, Inc. (the “Investment Manager”) will rely heavily on its own analysis of the credit quality and risks associated with individual debt obligations in an attempt to minimize credit risk and identify borrowers, issuers, industries or sectors that are undervalued or that offer attractive yields relative to the Investment Manager’s assessment of their credit characteristics. The Fund’s success in achieving its investment objectives may depend more heavily on the Investment Manager’s credit analysis than if the Fund invested solely in higher-quality and rated securities.
Marketplace Loans are subject to the risks associated with debt investments generally, including but not limited to, default, interest rate, credit, liquidity, high yield debt, enforcement, market and income risks. Marketplace Loans generally are not rated by rating agencies; are often unsecured; not guaranteed or insured by a third party; not backed by any governmental authority; and are highly risky and speculative investments similar to an investment in lower rated securities or high yield debt securities (also known as junk bonds). Investments in Marketplace Loans may be adversely affected if the Platform or a third-party service provider becomes unable or unwilling to fulfill its obligations in servicing the loans, although the Fund will attempt to mitigate this risk by having a backup servicer. The Fund may have limited information about the Marketplace Loans, and the information provided by the Platform regarding the loans and the borrowers’ credit information may be incomplete, inaccurate, outdated or fraudulent. Because Marketplace Loans are often illiquid, it may be difficult for the Fund to sell an investment in a Marketplace Loan before maturity at the price at which the Fund believes the loan should be valued.
You may request a copy of the Fund’s current Report to Shareholders by contacting Franklin Templeton’s Fund Information Department at 1-800/DIAL BEN® (1-800-342-5236) or by visiting franklintempleton.com. All investments involve risks, including possible loss of principal. Bond prices generally move in the opposite direction of interest rates. As the prices of bonds in a fund adjust to a rise in interest rates, the fund’s share price may decline. Investments in lower-rated bonds include higher risk of default and loss of principal. Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions. In addition to other factors, securities issued by utility companies have historically been sensitive to interest rate changes. When interest rates fall, utility securities prices, and thus a utilities fund’s share price, tend to rise; when interest rates rise, their prices generally fall. The Fund is actively managed but there is no guarantee that the manager’s investment decisions will produce the desired results. For portfolio management discussions, including information regarding the Fund’s investment strategies, please view the most recent Annual or Semi-Annual Report to Shareholders which can be found at franklintempleton.com or sec.gov.
Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE:BEN] is a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton. Franklin Templeton’s goal is to deliver better outcomes by providing global and domestic investment management to retail, institutional and sovereign wealth clients in over 170 countries. Through specialized teams, the Company has expertise across all asset classes, including equity, fixed income, alternatives and custom multi-asset 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 employees in over 30 countries, the California-based company has more than 70 years of investment experience and over US$712 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2019. For more information, please visit franklintempleton.com.
Franklin Templeton Investments
Shareholders/Financial Advisors: (800) 342-5236