Per their press release:
Franklin Templeton Investments announced [yesterday] the introduction of Templeton Frontier Markets Fund, the first actively managed, U.S.-registered fund dedicated to investing in the dynamic economies of frontier market nations around the world. The Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in securities of companies located in frontier market countries, which are defined as smaller, less developed and less liquid countries (compared to emerging markets) that are considered to be in the early stages of development.
“Frontier markets, which many view as the next generation of emerging markets, have been attracting increased interest from investors due to their impressive growth rates and low correlation to emerging and developed markets,” said Mark Mobius, Ph.D., executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management, Ltd. and the Fund’s portfolio manager. “Today, frontier markets resemble what emerging market countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China looked like two decades ago when we introduced our first Templeton emerging markets fund.”
Frontier market economies are growing at a robust pace, with countries such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Vietnam experiencing annual growth rates of over 11% over the 15 years ended December 31, 2007, while developed markets such as the UK and the U.S. have grown less than 6%.
“Many frontier market countries have rapidly expanding consumer markets that are increasing their demand for cell phone services, consumer banking and credit cards and a whole range of consumer products. In addition, a number of the countries are leading producers of oil, gas and precious metals so they are well positioned to benefit from the high global demand for these resources. As the economies of frontier market countries expand, they continue to increase investments in infrastructure, offering valuable opportunities in the construction, transportation, banking and finance and telecommunications industries,” said Mobius.