The Signal - Episode 5: Mark Mobius - a life in emerging markets

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With over 30 years of experience investing in emerging markets, Mark Mobius of Mobius Capital Partners LLP talks to Third Bridge about his investment philosophy, career highlights and thoughts on current market conditions.

Mark Mobius’ career began in 1987 as he listed the first emerging markets fund on the New York Stock Exchange. “And that was quite an adventure because at that time we only had six markets in which we could invest.” The investment landscape has changed dramatically since then, with Mobius living and breathing emerging markets. Mobius shared how his investment firm finds “bargains” – high-quality companies to engage with on ESG+C factors that are at the heart of Mobius Capital Partners.

Closely aligned with governance factors, the added “C” is Mobius Capital’s stamp on the ESG lexicon to reflect company culture – or morale – that “speaks for the personality of the people running a company”. But governance is the “frontier”, he said. “If you don’t have independent directors, for example, or if you don’t have management that’s listening to shareholders and paying attention to what the public is saying, then you have a real barrier.”

As an industry veteran, Mobius has seen the definition of emerging markets evolve, no longer characterised simply as low income countries. “What we’ve done is said, let’s not focus on the country, but let’s focus on the company, because we would like to see emerging companies that are in a high-growth environment,” he said. Vietnam, India and Indonesia are countries with “great opportunity”, Mobius told The Signal, and the field is also wide open in Africa, he added. “There’s so much to be done.”

Lest we forget the thorny matters of interest rates, inflation and a looming recession, Mobius raised some points from his latest book, The Inflation Myth. Among them was that current inflation measures, such as the CPI, are inefficient. “What you really should look at is money supply and with increasing money supply, you get devaluation of currencies. And that’s what we’re facing right now.”

And what have been some of his biggest lessons during his career? “I would have paid a lot more attention to the people behind the companies in which we invest,” he said. “Who are the owners? Who are the people that are really controlling the company and what’s their background?”

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The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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