Franklin Resources, Inc
Franklin Resources, Inc.

Franklin Resources, Inc. Audit Committee Charter

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This Audit Committee Charter (the “Charter”) has been adopted by the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Franklin Resources, Inc. (the “Company”) in connection with its oversight of the Company’s management and the business affairs of the Company.

  1. Purpose. The purpose of the Audit Committee (the “Committee”) is to:
    1. Assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee (i) the Company’s financial reporting, auditing and internal control activities, including the integrity of the Company’s financial statements, (ii) the Company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, (iii) the independent auditor’s qualifications and independence, and (iv) the performance of the Company’s internal audit function and independent auditor.
    2. Prepare the report the Committee is required by United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) rules to include in the Company’s annual proxy statement.
  2. Membership.
    1. Number. The Committee shall be comprised of not less than three members of the Board.
    2. Qualifications.
      1. Each member of the Committee shall be an “independent” director in accordance with Applicable Corporate Governance Listing Standards. For purposes of this Charter, “Applicable Corporate Governance Listing Standards” means the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange or such listing standards of any other applicable securities exchange to which the Company’s shares may be subject from time to time (together with such other requirements imposed by applicable law or regulation). Each member of the Committee must also satisfy the additional independence requirements under the applicable rules of the SEC.
      2. Each member of the Committee shall, in the view of the Board, be financially literate or shall become financially literate within a reasonable period of time after appointment to the Committee. In addition, at least one member of the Committee shall be an “audit committee financial expert” as defined under the applicable rules of the SEC, who shall, in the judgment of the Board, have accounting or related financial management expertise in accordance with the Applicable Corporate Governance Listing Standards.
      3. No member of the Committee may serve on the audit committee of more than three public companies, including the Company, unless the Board has determined that such simultaneous service would not impair the ability of such member to effectively serve on the Committee.
      4. The Committee’s composition shall meet such other regulatory requirements relating to audit committees established from time to time by the Applicable Corporate Governance Listing Standards, the SEC and any other applicable governmental or self-regulatory organization.
    3. Appointment and Removal. The members of the Committee shall be appointed and may be removed by the Board.
    4. Term. Each member of the 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.
    5. Chairperson. The Committee shall designate a Chairperson of the Committee from among its members from time to time.
  3. Meetings and Operations.
    1. Meetings.The Committee shall meet as often as necessary to carry out its responsibilities, and will hold special meetings as circumstances require. The timing of the meetings shall be determined by the Chairperson of the Committee, in consultation with the other Committee members.
    2. Meetings with Others. The Committee shall periodically meet with the internal auditor and the independent auditor in separate executive sessions to provide the opportunity for full and frank discussion without members of senior management present. The Committee shall also periodically meet separately with management.
    3. Quorum. At all Committee meetings, a majority of the members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
    4. Actions. A majority of the members of the Committee shall be empowered to act on behalf of the Committee, and the action of a majority of the members of the Committee shall be the action of the Committee. The Committee shall keep a record of its actions and proceedings.
    5. Reporting to the Board. The Committee shall regularly report to the Board actions taken by the Committee.
  4. Authority and Responsibilities. The Committee’s function is essentially one of oversight only and shall not relieve the Company’s management of its responsibility for preparing financial statements, which accurately and fairly present the Company’s financial results and condition, or the responsibilities of the independent auditor relating to the audit or review of financial statements. In performing its responsibilities, the Committee shall be fully protected in relying in good faith upon the records of the Company and upon such information, opinions, reports or statements presented to the Committee or to the Company by any of the Company’s officers or employees, or committees of the Board, or by any other person as to matters the Committee reasonably believes are within such other person’s professional or expert competence. The Committee shall have the following authority and responsibilities:
    Independent Auditor Oversight.
    1. The Committee shall be directly responsible for the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of the independent auditor engaged (including resolution of disagreements between management and the independent auditor regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or related work or performing other audit, review or attest services for the Company. The independent auditor shall report directly to and may only be terminated by the Committee.
    2. The Committee shall pre-approve the engagement of the independent auditor to provide any audit or permitted non-audit services to the Company. The Committee may establish pre-approval policies and procedures pursuant to which audit and permitted non-audit services may be pre-approved. The Committee may delegate the authority to grant pre-approvals to one or more designated members of the Committee. The decisions of any member (to whom authority is delegated) to pre-approve any such audit or non-audit service shall be presented to the full Committee at its scheduled meetings.
    3. The Committee shall establish hiring policies for employees and former employees of independent auditors.
    4. The Committee shall annually review an independent auditor’s report including (i) the independent auditor’s quality control procedures, (ii) any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality control review, or peer review, of the independent auditor, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities, within the preceding five years, respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the independent auditor, and any steps taken to deal with any such issues, and (iii) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company consistent with the applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding the independent auditor’s communications with the Committee concerning independence.
    5. The Committee shall evaluate the independent auditor’s qualifications, performance and independence based on a review of the independent auditor’s report described above and a review of the auditor’s work throughout the year. As part of such evaluation, the Committee shall (i) review and evaluate all senior members of the independent auditor’s team, (ii) consider whether the audit engagement team partners should be rotated more frequently than is required by law, so as to assure continuing auditor independence, (iii) consider whether the independent auditor should be rotated, so as to assure continuing auditor independence, and (iv) obtain the opinion of management and the internal auditor of the independent auditor’s performance.
      Internal Audit Function Oversight.
    6. The Committee shall oversee the Company’s internal audit function and meet separately with the internal auditor to review any audit related issues. As part of such oversight, the Committee shall:
      1. Annually review internal audit plans, responsibilities, staffing and budget of the Company’s internal audit function and the adequacy of funding to carry out the proposed work scope.
      2. Review and concur in the appointment, replacement or dismissal of the internal audit director.
      3. Discuss significant internal audit findings in appropriate detail as well as the status of past audit recommendations.
      4. Review and approve any decisions to outsource any internal audit functions, other than outsourcing approved by the internal auditor.
        Financial Reporting Oversight.
    7. The Committee shall meet to review and discuss with management and the independent auditor: (i) the Company’s audited financial statements to be included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K; (ii) the Company’s interim financial results to be included in the Company’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q; (iii) the Company’s disclosures under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” (“MD&A”), to be included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q; and (iv) the matters required to be discussed by Auditing Standard No. 16 and Statement on Auditing Standards No. 100, as may be modified or supplemented from time to time; which review shall occur prior to the filing of Form 10-K or Form 10-Q, whichever is applicable.
    8. The Committee shall review and generally discuss the Company’s earnings press releases, including the type and presentation of information to be included therein (paying particular attention to any use of “pro forma,” or “adjusted” non-GAAP, information), as well as financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies.
    9. The Committee shall review and discuss with Company’s management and the independent auditor prior to the filing of any audit report with the SEC: (i) all accounting policies, practices and judgments which may be viewed as critical; (ii) major issues regarding accounting principles and financial statement presentations, including any significant changes in the Company’s selection or application of accounting principles and policies; (iii) any analyses of management and/or the independent auditor setting forth significant issues regarding accounting principles, financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the financial statements; (iv) all alternative treatments of financial information within generally accepted accounting principles that have been discussed by management and the independent auditor, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor; (v) the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives, as well as off-balance sheet structures, on the financial statements; and (vi) other material written communications between the independent auditor and management, such as any management letter comments or the schedule of unadjusted differences.
    10. The Committee shall review with management and the independent auditor (i) the quality and adequacy of the Company’s internal controls, disclosure controls and procedures, and accounting procedures, including reports of material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls and/or any fraud that involves personnel having a significant role in internal control over financial reporting, as required to be disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer and/or Chief Financial Officer in connection with their certifications for the annual or quarterly reports of the Company and/or presented in the independent auditor’s written report, a report of management or internal audit, or otherwise, and (ii) any special audit steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies.
    11. The Committee shall provide oversight and discuss policies and procedures with respect to Company enterprise risk assessment and risk management.
    12. The Committee shall review with the independent auditor any audit problems and/or difficulties and management’s response, review and approve the resolution of any disagreements regarding financial reporting arising between the Company’s management and any independent auditor employed by the Company. The review shall also include discussion of the responsibilities, budget and staffing of the internal audit function.
      Audit Committee Report.
    13. The Committee shall prepare the annual report of the Committee, which shall be included in the Company’s annual proxy statement.
      Legal and Regulatory Compliance Oversight.
    14. The Committee shall assist the Board in overseeing the Company’s legal and regulatory compliance.
    15. The Committee shall establish procedures for the receipt, retention, and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal controls, or auditing matters, which procedures shall include a process for the confidential, anonymous submission by Company employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters. In addition, the Committee shall review complaints received directly by the Committee under those procedures or received through the Compliance and Ethics Hot-Line established by the Company to permit anonymous reporting of violations of the Code of Ethics and Business Conduct.
    16. In discharging its oversight role, the Committee is authorized to investigate any matter that the Committee deems appropriate, with access to all books, records, facilities and personnel of the Company.
    17. The Committee shall have the authority to perform any other activities it deems are appropriate, consistent with this Charter.
    18. The Committee shall have the authority to retain independent advisors, including, but not limited to, independent counsel, auditors or other experts, at the expense of the Company, to assist in carrying out Committee responsibilities, as the Committee may deem appropriate.
    19. The Company shall provide appropriate funding, as determined by the Committee, for payment of compensation to the independent auditor and advisors employed by the Committee and for ordinary administrative expenses of the Committee.
  5. Annual Performance Evaluation. The Committee shall annually review its own performance in such manner as it deems appropriate.
  6. Annual Review of Committee Charter.  The Committee shall annually review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval.
  7. General. This Charter is intended as a component of the flexible framework within which the Board, assisted by its committees, directs the affairs of the Company. While it should be interpreted in the context of applicable laws, regulations and listing requirements, as well as in the context of the Company’s Certificate of Incorporation, as amended, and Amended and Restated By-Laws, it is not intended to establish by its own force any legally binding obligations.


Last approved by the Board on June 12, 2018.