Franklin Templeton Investments has stepped up its efforts to attract fresh capital from clients in Singapore, where the number of wealthy individuals is rapidly increasing, by launching 38 new funds.

The funds include the Franklin Asian Flex Cap Fund, which invests in both large- and small-cap companies across Asia; the Franklin Mutual European Fund, which invests in undervalued stocks, merger arbitrage and distressed debt situations in Europe; and the Franklin Natural Resources Fund, which invests in commodities worldwide. The latest offerings bring to 58 the total of Franklin Templeton funds available in Singapore.

ôWe have expanded our offering of mutual funds in response to the growth of the wealth management industry in Singapore,ö says Stephen Grundlingh, Franklin Templeton InvestmentsÆ Singapore country head.

He notes that the wealth management industry in Asia will grow by $350 billion over the next 10 years, as a result of intergenerational wealth transfer, and the younger generationÆs preference to delegate the management of their investments to discretionary wealth managers.

Several data released recently point to the higher growth potential in SingaporeÆs wealth management industry.

London-based market research firm Datamonitor has reported that the number of wealthy individuals living in Singapore will rise in number to 600,000 by 2011 from the current 410,000. The combined assets they hold will grow to $210 billion in four yearÆs time from the current $140 billion û an average annual increase of more than 7%.

The latest World Wealth Report compiled by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini showed the number of millionaires in Singapore grew more than 21% to 66,600 last year, outstripping a 10.5% rise across the region as a whole.

Research firm Cerulli Associates has reported that showed that assets under management of recognised funds in Singapore that target the high net worth population more than doubled to S$8.6bn in 2006 from S$3.3bn in 2004.

SingaporeÆs retail mutual fund market has grown at a rate of 23%, year-on-year, from 2001 to 2006. The Singapore retail mutual fund marketÆs assets under management reached S$30 billion in end-1006 and are projected to rise to S$53 billion by 2010, according to Cerulli Associates.

Worldwide, Franklin Templeton manages more than $645 billion in assets.