Sir John Templeton – Mutual Fund Pioneer

sir_john_templetonSir John Templeton was a mutual fund pioneer, one of the most benevolent philanthropists in history and a deeply spiritual man. He also wrote several books, many of which focused on spirituality. A lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church and a 42 year member of the Board of Trustees for the Princeton Theological Seminary, Sir John can certainly be classified as a Christian. However, Templeton was also convinced that little was known about spiritual truth and he remained open to the benefits and values of other faiths. His commitment to spiritual progress led to the creation of an annual award given to the person, “who had made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works”, known as the Templeton Prize. The amount ($1,700,000 as of 2013) is adjusted annually to exceed that of the Nobel Prizes, as Templeton wanted breakthroughs in our understanding of spiritual laws to garner a greater reward than that of the natural world. Sir John Templeton gave away over $1 Billion to charitable causes, landed on Time magazine’s list off 100 Most Influential Power Givers of all time and ultimately, he lived the life of a Giant for God.

john-templeton-collegeBorn and raised in Winchester, Tennessee, John had a normal childhood but displayed an extraordinary intellect in his youth. He attended Yale, graduating in 1934 near the top of his class and then attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1937, he moved to Wall Street to begin his life long career in the financial world. In that same year, he married Judith Folk, a fellow Southerner he had met while at Yale. They had three children, John Jr, Anne and Christopher. It didn’t take long for him to get the hang of investing and in only three years, in 1940, John had already started his own investment fund. Tragedy struck in 1951 though, when, while on vacation, his wife Judith died in a freak motorbike accident. John leaned on his heavenly Father for strength during this difficult time. It was not until several years later, in 1958, that he remarried, to Irene Butler, to whom he was with until her passing in 1993.

Templeton also continued to grow in his career during this time, launching the Templeton Growth Fund in 1954 which went on to become the most successful globally diversified mutual fund of its time. Today, mutual funds are very common but at the time, John was a pioneer in creating, not only a mutual fund, but one that invested internationally. His global investing decisions were incredibly productive and in later years he was dubbed the greatest global stock picker of the century. And perhaps equally important was his unwavering integrity, especially in light of all the money manager scandals that have rocked the financial world for the past several decades.

sir-john-templeton-knightedIn 1968, after much success in the financial epicenter of Wall Street, Templeton permanently moved to the Bahamas from New York, renouncing his US citizenship and becoming a dual naturalized Bahamian and British citizen (It is unclear as to why he made the move but many years later, when he sold his fund in 1992, he saved $100 Million in US income taxes to which he channeled toward philanthropy). In 1972 he established the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, with Mother Theresa winning the first prize. By 1987, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his benevolence, giving him the name Sir John Templeton. In that same year, he also established the John Templeton Foundation, which funded more than 245 initiatives in the areas of science, religion, character development and freedom by 2001 and by 2004, it had $1 Billion in assets. Today, the foundation is led by John Jr.

Through the Templeton Press, Sir John wrote and published several books, including two of his more influential works, The Humble Approach: Scientist Discover God and The The Templeton Plan: 21 Steps to Personal Success and Real Happiness. Rather than author books on the subject of international investing, he focused his writing on helping others understand eternal, spiritual wisdom.

To learn more about the life of Sir John Templeton, watch the powerful new film Contrarian or read the book Sir John Templeton by Robert Herrmann.


  1. Samuel Gasu says:

    For once my heart is gladden to encounter such men as; The Sir John Templetons, The Anthony Rossis and the lik,e as outstanding christians who are in Business and are doing well. Like Elijah, my heart bleeds when I see other religious men showcasing their abilities and beleives.
    I pray many more of us will emulate the examples les of such for our children to also be proud of.

  2. oscar says:

    God has really enabled you do big things .i would to start give me some advice thanks

  3. May God continue to bless you and your work so that you in turn may be a blessing to others.Iam planting Ebenezer Church in Ruiru-Kenya.Please pray for me and my ministry.

  4. Richard Tapas Adhikary says:

    Sir John Templeton,

    Revered Brother in Jesus Christ,
    Blessed be all these days for you and your home in Christ Jesus.

    I earnestly seek your kind heart to allow me to sit with you for an hour for an inportant conversation over my truly sacrificed preaching of the Gospel at the face of all these very last days, when peoples are to taste how God is good and get to be with Him through His loved Son Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15). I am a preacher of the Gospel.

    Please do the favour to me so that I can be able to meet you at your location as suits your convenient time, the sooner and the better.

    I await your loved response.

    God bless you and your home.
    Richard Adhikary

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