Here's Why Franklin (BEN) is a Wise Investment Pick Now

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It seems appropriate to invest in Franklin Resources, Inc. BEN stock right now. The company’s strong fundamentals and rising assets under management (AUM) make it a promising pick.Moreover, Franklin has been making inorganic growth moves to enhance its foothold and expand service offerings. These acquisitions will support the company in improving and expanding its alternative investment and multi-asset solution platforms, thereby providing world-class investment solutions to clients.BEN currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The company’s price performance also seems decent. The stock has gained 14.6% over the past three months, outperforming the industry’s growth of 9.3%.Three Months’ Price Performance Image Source: Zacks Investment Research What Makes Franklin Attractive?Organic Growth: Franklin holds organic growth prospects in several areas. The company’s relatively strong distribution platform has increased diversification in flows across funds, vehicles and asset classes as well as key businesses growth.  Also, being an early entrant in many foreign markets, it enjoys a first-mover advantage.Inorganic Moves: Over the past few years, Franklin has expanded through acquisitions, thereby, enhancing its foothold. In November, in a bid to bulk up its offerings in the alternative investment space, the company inked an agreement to acquire Lexington Partners, complementing its existing prowess in real estate, private credit, and hedge fund strategies.In October, it announced the acquisition of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, LLC, further enhancing its presence in the separately managed account (SMA) space. Franklin also concluded the all-cash acquisition of Legg Mason in July 2020. The strategic and financial benefits from the acquisition exceeded the firm’s targets, and augmented its growth opportunities.AUM: Franklin’s rising AUM is a positive. The company witnessed a rising trend, seeing a CAGR of 19.4% over the last five years (ended fiscal 2021). Though BEN’s net outflows persist, the Legg Mason acquisition and several other efforts are likely to keep supporting AUM growth. This, in turn, will support the company’s top-line growth.Valuation: Franklin looks undervalued right now compared with its broader industry. It currently has a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.62, lower than the industry average of 11.49. Also, its price-to-sales ratio of 2.03 is below the industry’s 3.08.Other Stocks Worth a LookA few other top-ranked stocks from the same space are Hamilton Lane HLNE, KKR & Co. KKR and Affiliated Managers Group AMG. All three companies sport a Zacks Rank #1 at present.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Hamilton Lane’s current-year earnings has been unchanged over the past 30 days. HLNE’s shares have risen 37.7% in the past year.Earnings estimates for KKR have moved marginally upward for 2021 over the past 30 days. Over the past year, KKR’s shares have rallied 93.3%.Affiliated Managers recorded a marginal upward earnings estimate revision for 2021 over the past 30 days. The AMG stock has rallied 64.5% in the past year.More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone!It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market.Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don’t buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Franklin Resources, Inc. (BEN): Free Stock Analysis Report KKR & Co. Inc. (KKR): Free Stock Analysis Report Affiliated Managers Group, Inc. (AMG): Free Stock Analysis Report Hamilton Lane Inc. (HLNE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research
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