After 34 Years With Franklin, a Senior Exec Joins a Faith-Based Shop
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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

After 34 Years With Franklin, a Senior Exec Joins a Faith-Based Shop

A senior, 34-year Franklin Templeton [profile] veteran is moving on to a faith-based mutual fund firm.

Yesterday George Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc. [profile] (advisor to the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, designed for Catholic investors), confirmed that Bob Geppner has joined the Plymouth, Michigan-based firm as director of strategic planning. He previously served as executive vice president and head of national sales in the U.S. at Franklin, and he most recently served as head of client advisory experience and integration.

"In mid-2020, Geppner announced his plans to retire from Franklin Templeton. He then moved into the role of Head of Client Advisory Experience and Integration on August 1, 2020, focused on field sales talent selection, cross-training efforts, and the client introduction process. Geppner stayed with the firm through July 1, 2021 to help ensure a smooth transition following the Legg Mason acquisition (completed in July 2020)," Stacey Coleman, a Franklin spokesperson, tells MFWire in an emailed statement. "We're grateful for his many contributions over the years and wish him the best in the future."

"Under the current team structure, Geppner's previous role as Head of National Sales is now two Co-Head of US Retail roles — Mark Lavan oversees the Wirehouse wholesaling team, Ronice Barlow oversees the Regional Banks & Independents wholesaling team (and also Internal Sales) — and Jonathan Kingery is Head of US Private Wealth and RIA. Maggie Doherty is Head of Retail National Accounts," Coleman adds. "Lavan, Barlow, Kingery and Doherty all report directly to Jeff Masom, head of US Distribution for Franklin Templeton."

Meanwhile, Schwartz lauds Geppner as "such an accomplished professional" and "a tremendous addition" to the Schwartz Investment Counsel team.

"With his industry expertise and his reputation for integrity, he will expand the presence of the Ave Maria Mutual Funds within the broker-dealer community," Schwartz states.

Geppner joined Franklin in 1987 as a wholesaler, and over the years he rose through the sales management ranks. Earlier on, he worked with EF Hutton. He is an alumnus of Western Illinois University.

Schwartz's Ave Maria funds have $3 billion in AUM. The firm specializes in what they call "morally responsible investment" (MRI) strategies.

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