Franklin Resources, Inc. Corporate Governance Guidelines
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These Corporate Governance Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) have been adopted by the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Franklin Resources, Inc. (the “Company” or “Corporation”) in connection with its oversight of the Company’s management and business affairs.
On this page:
- Composition of Board of Directors
- Conflicts of Interest and Other Commitments
- Director Responsibilities
- Executive Sessions
- Board Committees
- Director Access to Officers, Employees and Independent Advisors
- Director Compensation
- Director Orientation and Continuing Education
- Management Succession
- Company’s Long-Term Strategic Plans
- Annual Performance Evaluation
- Review of Corporate Governance Guidelines
Composition of Board of Directors
- Independence of Directors. A majority of directors must be “independent” directors in accordance with the corporate governance listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange and any other applicable securities exchanges (the “Independence Rules”). In addition, at least three directors must also satisfy the additional independence requirements for audit committee members and at least three directors must also satisfy the additional independence requirements for compensation committee members under the Independence Rules and the applicable rules of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).
- Director Qualifications and Selection. The Corporate Governance Committee of the Board is responsible for establishing a policy setting forth the specific, minimum qualifications that the Corporate Governance Committee believes must be met by a nominee recommended by the Corporate Governance Committee for a position on the Board, and describing any specific qualities or skills that the Corporate Governance Committee believes are necessary for one or more of the directors to possess. Such qualifications shall include the requirements under the Independence Rules as well as consideration of the individual skills, experience and perspectives that will help create an effective Board. The Corporate Governance Committee shall establish a policy setting forth the process for identifying and evaluating nominees for directors, including the consideration of any director candidates recommended by stockholders, and shall recommend to the Board candidates for election as directors. The Board shall nominate such candidates for election as directors by the Company’s stockholders or fill vacancies that may arise.
- Size of Board. The Board shall periodically evaluate the size of the Board and make any changes it deems appropriate in accordance with the Amended and Restated Bylaws of the Company (the “Bylaws”).
- Majority Voting in Director Elections. The Company’s Bylaws provide for majority voting in the election of directors. In uncontested elections, directors are elected by a majority of the votes cast, which means that the number of shares voted “for” a director must exceed the number of shares voted “against” that director. The Corporate Governance Committee shall establish procedures for any director who is not elected to tender his or her resignation. The Corporate Governance Committee will make a recommendation to the Board on whether to accept or reject the resignation, or whether other action should be taken. The Board will act on the Corporate Governance Committee’s recommendation within 90 days following certification of the election results. In determining whether or not to recommend that the Board of Directors accept any resignation offer, the Corporate Governance Committee shall be entitled to consider all factors believed relevant by such committee’s members. Unless applicable to all directors, the director(s) whose resignation is under consideration is expected to recuse himself or herself from the Board vote. Thereafter, the Board will promptly disclose its decision regarding the director’s resignation offer (including the reason(s) for rejecting the resignation offer, if applicable) in a Form 8-K furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. If the Board accepts a director’s resignation pursuant to this process, the Corporate Governance Committee shall recommend to the Board whether to fill such vacancy or reduce the size of the Board.
- Term Limits. The Board does not believe that it should establish term limits for its members. The Board recognizes the value of continuity of directors who have experience with the Company and who have gained over a period of time a level of understanding about the Company and its operations that enable the director to make a significant contribution to the deliberations of the Board.
- Retirement. Persons are not eligible to be recommended for nomination as a director for a term commencing on or after their 75th birthday, except for any person who beneficially owns 5% or more of the outstanding shares of the Company. Incumbent directors reaching the age of 75 during their term may complete such term.
Conflicts of Interest and Other Commitments
- With respect to any matter under discussion by the Board, directors must disclose to the Board any potential conflicts of interest they may have and, if appropriate, refrain from voting on a matter in which they may have a conflict.
- Each director is responsible for ensuring that other commitments do not conflict or materially interfere with the director’s responsibilities to the Company. To ensure that serving as a director of another company or any other change in circumstances such as employment, business or “immediate family” relationships (as defined under the Independence Rules) would not conflict with his or her duties to the Company, and to evaluate whether disclosure needs to be made in the Company’s proxy statement or the director’s status under the Independence Rules is changed, the director should consult the Chairman of the Board and the Corporate Secretary in advance of accepting an invitation to serve on another company’s board and should report any change in circumstances to the Corporate Secretary. The Chairman of the Board and the Corporate Secretary should report to the Corporate Governance Committee the results of such consultation.
- Duties. The directors are responsible for exercising care, loyalty and good faith and acting in a manner they reasonably believe is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders and consistent with their fiduciary duties. In fulfilling their responsibilities, directors may ask such questions and conduct such investigations as they deem appropriate, and may reasonably rely on the information provided to them by the Company’s senior executives and its outside advisors and auditors. The directors shall be entitled to have the Company purchase directors’ and officers’ liability insurance on their behalf and receive the benefits of indemnification and exculpation to the fullest extent permitted by law, the Company’s Certificate of Incorporation, as amended (the “Certificate”), the Bylaws and any indemnification agreements, as applicable.
- Meetings and Preparation. Directors are expected to regularly attend Board meetings and meetings of committees on which they serve, to spend the time needed in preparation for such meetings and to meet as frequently as they deem necessary to properly discharge their responsibilities. In addition, directors should stay abreast of the Company’s business and markets. To the fullest extent possible, directors should review agendas and other meeting materials in advance of any Board or committee meetings.
- Meeting Agendas. The Chairman of the Board, the Lead Director and the Corporate Secretary will establish and disseminate the agenda for each Board meeting. Each Board member is free to suggest the inclusion of items on the agenda. Each Board member is free to raise at any Board meeting subjects that are not on the agenda for that meeting.
- Company Representation. The Board believes that management speaks for the Company. Individual directors may, from time to time, expressly represent the Company in meetings or otherwise communicate with various third parties on the Company’s behalf. When representing the Company, it is generally expected that directors will do this with the knowledge of management and, unless warranted by unusual circumstances or as contemplated by the committee charters, only at the request of management.
The “independent” directors and the “non-management” directors, each as defined in the Independence Rules, will meet in regular executive sessions.
- Committees. The Board shall have an Audit Committee, a Compensation Committee and a Corporate Governance Committee. All members of these committees will be “independent” directors, as defined in the Independence Rules. In addition, Audit Committee and Compensation members shall satisfy the additional independence requirements for members of such committees under the Independence Rules and the applicable rules of the SEC. Each committee’s member shall also meet any other qualifications for service on the particular committee pursuant to the committee’s written charter.
- Appointment, Removal and Term. Committee members shall be appointed and may be removed by the Board. Each member of a committee shall serve until his or her successor is duly appointed and qualified, or until his or her earlier removal or resignation or such time as he or she no longer meets the qualifications to serve on the committee.
- Chairman. Each committee shall designate a Chairman of the committee from among its members from time to time.
- Charters. Each committee shall have its own written charter. The charters will set forth the purpose, authority and responsibilities of the committees as well as qualifications for committee membership, procedures for committee member appointment and removal, committee structure and operations, reporting to the Board, and annual performance evaluations of the committee. The charters of each committee will be reviewed periodically with a view toward delegating to the standing committees the full authority of the Board concerning specified matters appropriate to such committee.
- Meetings. Each committee shall meet on a regular basis, but not less frequently than quarterly, and hold special meetings as circumstances require. The timing of the meetings shall be determined by the Chairman of the committee, in consultation with the other committee members. The Chairman of each committee, in consultation with the appropriate members of the committee and management, will develop the committee’s agenda.
- Additional Committees. The Board may, from time to time, establish or maintain additional committees as it deems appropriate and delegate to such committees such authority permitted by applicable laws and the Bylaws as the Board sees fit.
Director Access to Officers, Employees and Independent Advisors
- Officers and Employees. Directors shall have full and free access to officers and employees of the Company. Any meetings or contacts that a director wishes to initiate may be arranged directly by the director or through the Chief Executive Officer or the Corporate Secretary.
- Independent Advisors. The Board and each Board committee shall have full and free access to the Company’s independent advisors and each shall have the power to retain legal, accounting, financial or other advisors as they may deem appropriate at the expense of the Company, without the need to obtain the prior approval of any officer of the Company. The Corporate Secretary of the Company will arrange for payment of the invoices of any such third party advisors.
The form and amount of director compensation will be determined by the Compensation Committee, in accordance with the policies and principles set forth in the Compensation Committee’s charter, and will be recommended to the Board for approval. The Compensation Committee also will conduct an annual review of director compensation.
Director Orientation and Continuing Education
- Orientation. The Board, through its delegation of oversight to the Corporate Governance Committee, shall establish, or identify and provide access to, appropriate orientation programs, sessions or material for newly elected directors of the Company for their benefit either prior to or within a reasonable period of time after their nomination or election as a director. This orientation may include presentations by senior management to familiarize new directors with the Company’s strategic plans, its significant financial, accounting and risk management issues, its compliance program, its Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and these Guidelines, its principal officers, and its internal and independent auditors. In addition, the orientation will include visits to Company headquarters and, to the extent appropriate, other of the Company’s significant facilities. All other directors are also invited to attend orientation.
- Education. The Board, through its delegation of oversight to the Corporate Governance Committee, shall also identify and/or develop continuing education opportunities for the directors. Directors are encouraged to attend continuing education programs sponsored by universities, stock exchanges or other organizations. The Company will reimburse the reasonable costs and expenses associated with such programs.
The Board shall oversee the succession planning for the management of the Company, including policies and principles for the selection and performance review of the Chief Executive Officer, as well as policies regarding succession in the event of an emergency or the retirement of the Chief Executive Officer.
Company’s Long-Term Strategic Plans
The Board will periodically review with management the Company’s long-term strategic plans.
Annual Performance Evaluation
The Board, through its delegation of oversight to the Corporate Governance Committee, shall annually review its own performance in such manner as it deems appropriate to determine whether the Board and its committees are functioning effectively. The full Board will discuss the evaluation to determine what action, if any, could improve Board and committee performance.
Review of Corporate Governance Guidelines
The Corporate Governance Committee, as appropriate, shall periodically review and reassess the adequacy of these Guidelines to determine whether any changes are appropriate and recommend to the Board any such changes for the Board’s approval.
These Guidelines are intended as a component of the flexible framework within which the Board, assisted by its committees, directs the affairs of the Company. While they should be interpreted in the context of applicable laws, regulations and listing requirements, as well as in the context of the Company’s Certificate and Bylaws, they are not intended to establish by their own force any legally binding obligations.
Last approved by the Board as of December 10, 2013.