I have written several books on emerging markets. Whenever people ask me why, the answer is, “To get the word out to investors who might want to venture into emerging markets.” Writing a blog is no different, it’s just another medium.
One of the effects of being featured in numerous media interviews, and having a Yul Brynner shaved head, is that I often get recognized in airports and hotel lobbies. And as a portfolio manager, it’s natural for people to look to me for a hot tip. They will always ask me what I’m buying, where the opportunities are and how good is this X, Y or Z stock.
I can’t reveal any “hot” picks due to strict legal and ethical considerations, and I definitely don’t. There is but one thing I can disclose truthfully: There is no simple secret, no single blueprint, no rigid roadmap that will guarantee you, me or anyone long-term success as a global investor.
However, there are good, solid lessons to be learned from observing the methods of research and analysis employed by long-term investors in these turbulent markets.
I am thankful to the legendary Sir John Templeton for having the foresight to see the potential in emerging markets and making the bet to hire me for the job. He showed me that if you wanted to be successful, you need to keep an open mind and be willing to learn. He taught me and many others how to invest by pursing undervalued stocks and looking globally.
I believe in getting out and kicking the tires. I’m on the road 250 days a year, visiting companies in almost every corner of the globe. After chalking up over 30 million miles of flight time, I’m proud to achieve the status of a full-time nomad. I would rather see with my own eyes what’s happening in a company or country. Lies can be as revealing as truth, if you know what the cues are. You have to observe and listen to the signals. This is one advantage of getting to know the people who run the show and viewing a factory or plant. You won’t get the same type of information by just scanning through cold, hard data or numbers.
My personal theory is that countries that make it easy for travelers to enter tend to be friendly to foreign investment. Whenever I visit a new country, my radar kicks in the moment I hop off the plane and pass through customs. It intensifies as we drive into town, check into the hotel, talk to the cab drivers, walk around the neighborhood and chat with the service staff in shops (The condition of the infrastructure is often a sign of economic efficiency.).
This blog is an avenue to share my personal observations on a more regular basis, to give you a feeling for what I do and why — to share some of my emerging markets adventures. Be on the lookout for more posts in the future.