David Winters has left Franklin Mutual Advisers to start his own firm, Wintergreen Advisers. Winters managed four funds, co-managed one fund and oversaw three other retail products for the firm, a part of Franklin Templeton Investments since 1996, MarketWatch reports.

"It's pretty significant," said Terence Geenty, a Morningstar fund analyst. "He was the guy who pulled a lot of it together."

Winters has stepped down as president and chief investment officer, and Peter Langerman, chairman and chief executive officer, has stepped into his shoes as chief investment officer. Langerman, who has sixteen years of experience with the funds, returned to the firm in April after a three-year stint managing pension funds as director of New Jersey's Division of Investment.

The firm announced that it does not intend that the investment strategy and style will change under Langerman's watch. Langerman has 14 portfolio managers and analysts backing the funds as well as additional support from the Franklin Value Group, which Franklin Mutual Advisers became part of in April.

Winters managed Mutual Discovery, Mutual European, Mutual Beacon and Mutual Shares, totaling $30 billion in assets under management. He was also co-manager of the Masters Select Value Fund.

Winters' departure is the last in a series of high-profile manager defections, Geenty said. While investors should watch and wait to see how the funds fare under new stewardship, they needn't run for the door. "Maybe it wouldn't be a good time to add [money], but people who currently have investments shouldn't be concerned to the point where they feel they need to withdraw assets," he said.

The Wintergreen Fund will apparently follow an investment strategy similar to the one that Winters had been using with Franklin Mutual Advisers.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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