PORTRAIT Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group

40 years devoted to emerging markets

le 15/06/2012 L'AGEFI Hebdo

Mark Mobius does not need any introduction. The Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, who holds a Ph.D. in economics and political science from the prestigious MIT, heads up a team of 50 investment professionals, including portfolio managers, analysts and traders, and is in charge of more than 45 billion dollars. For this professional who joined Templeton in 1987, one of the keys to successful asset management is a good fieldwork strategy: a tireless globetrotter, his agenda includes numerous company visits and meetings with official leaders.

He has written numerous books on investment strategies and is also the only mutual fund manager to be the subject of a comic book: a manga recounting his personal and professional life was published in 2007 under the title of Mark Mobius - An Illustrated Biography of the Father of Emerging Markets Funds. He also has his own blog entitled Investment Adventures in Emerging Markets. This name sums up his voyage of discovery and enthusiasm for this sector. "Emerging markets have a certain appeal", he professes with modesty. His in-depth knowledge, which has been rewarded on several occasions by the asset management industry and recognised by major international organisations, makes him a true visionary. At a time when various economic analyses suggest a slowdown in Chinese economic growth, Mark Mobius continues to have unwavering belief in the country: "China is still one of the fastest growing economies and its economy is likely to continue to grow strongly." Africa is also increasingly a continent which he believes should be cultivated. "The growth rate in Africa is good and there are so many new things happening there: in three years, a billion dollars has already been invested in Templeton Frontier Markets Fund and that could very easily reach 3 to 4 billion dollars. No-one knows the potential of this continent." There are opportunities there, but risks too: "In Africa as in Asia, the risks are equitably divided and none of these regions is immune from a coup d’état or a change of political regime", he admits.

After 40 years of experience, he still has the same vitality as at the beginning of his career: "Romania and the scope of its reforms has been truly surprising", he adds. In the meantime, the financial crisis and market volatility are likely to continue to dominate the minds of investors: "Risks of volatility have increased on all markets throughout the world, giving rise to numerous investor fears and, despite our advice, poor decisions by them", he concludes.

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