In a sign of the changing times, Mark Mobius announced he is resigning as lead manager of the Templeton Emerging Markets investment trust after almost 27 years. He will, however, remain employed by Templeton as a portfolio manager for the more than $2 billion fund.

The legendary Mobius is to be replaced by Carlos Hardenberg, who has been part of Templeton’s emerging markets team for more than 13 years.

The company’s statement noted Hardenberg will relocate to London on October 1st as part of this reorganization.

TEMIT shares closed up slightly at 504.2 pence on Monday on the news.

Mark Mobius

Statement from Mark Mobius

In the statement announcing his stepping down as lead manager, Mobius commented: “The Templeton Emerging Markets Group routinely reviews portfolio management assignments and makes changes based on what we believe is in the best interests of our clients.”

Statement from TEMIT chair

TEMIT board chair Peter Smith said: ‘We believe that the appointment of Carlos Hardenberg as lead portfolio manager, supported by Mark Mobius and Chetan Sehgal, will provide renewed focus for the next stage in the company’s development.’

TEMIT underperforming for several years

The trust’s long-term performance is still exemplary with a 10-year shareholder return of 184%, but almost all of that gain came during the years of the financial crisis. TEMIT’s performance has been less than exemplary since then, hammered both by a major slump in emerging markets and its long-term value-investment style. Of note, the shares are off by a disappointing 1.7% over the last five years and are trading at a 10.4% discount.

The analyst team at Numis noted: “We believe that the change in management responsibilities has been made in order to reassure investors. It is interesting that Carlos Hardenberg and Chetan Sehgal specialize in frontier markets and small cap, respectively, and time will tell if this leads to any change in focus for the trust over time. However, we do not expect any change to the long-term, value-oriented approach.”