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Legendary Investor Mark Mobius: “ Invest so that you benefit, your clients benefit, the company in which you invest benefits, and society benefits.”

Invest for GOOD which means invest so that you benefit, your clients benefit, the company in which you invest benefits and society benefits. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Mobius, a founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners. Previously Mark was Executive Chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group and spent over 30 years investing […]

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Invest for GOOD which means invest so that you benefit, your clients benefit, the company in which you invest benefits and society benefits.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Mobius, a founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners. Previously Mark was Executive Chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group and spent over 30 years investing in emerging markets all over the world. Mark served on the World Bank’s Global Corporate Governance Forum and as co-chairman of its Investor Responsibility Task Force.


Thank you so much for joining us Mark, it is a great honor. Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

The fun of learning new things. Investment is about learning and I always loved being a student.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

There are many interesting stories in our new book “Invest for Good” which I wrote with my partners Carlos Hardenberg and Greg Konieczny and which has just been published. For example, a few years ago an Austrian oil and gas company, in which we had invested, began negotiating to buy a Romanian oil-refining business. Due diligence had revealed a mixed picture. The company seemed to be potentially very profitable, but there were some puzzling anomalies in the numbers, particularly in the relationship between fluid input and output volumes.

Suspecting that skulduggery of some kind would turn out to be the cause of the anomalous numbers, the Austrian company hired an East German anti-corruption agent, a former spy for East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi. He found hundreds of pipes leading from the plant’s output pipelines into the forest on the other side of the refinery’s boundary fence. Through these parasitical pipelines, refined product was being stolen for subsequent sale on the black market.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

We are looking at the consumer clothing industry in Turkey, the medical business in China, the electronic business in Taiwan and the construction materials business in India.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great investor? Can you share a story or example?

What contributed the most was the love of learning and the willingness to be humble and to open my mind to new ideas.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

There are many stories in the book. I liked the experience we made when we were considering to invest in Turkish Airlines, alongside the Turkish government. To be frank, we were not optimistic. Turkey was not known for its high standards of corporate governance and we knew all too well about the risks of being a minority shareholder in a company controlled by a government. But we were interested to hear how far the company would go to accommodate our governance demands.

When we asked if we could have an independent director on the board, the CEO said we would have to talk to the government. Not a good sign. It was up to the board, not the largest shareholder, to nominate a new director. But we had nothing to lose. We decided to go along with the C E O’s suggestion and arranged a meeting with the Minister of Finance. We arrived at the ministry offices at the appointed time and then had to go through a seemingly interminable series of security checks. We were eventually ushered into a plush office. The minister stood up, greeted us and gestured towards two leather chairs.

After the usual pleasantries and assurances by our host that foreign investors were welcome in Turkey, we asked the minister the same question we had asked the C E O, knowing the answer could only be a polite, but firm, ‘No.’ We asked, ‘If we invest in Turkish Airlines, can we have an independent director on the board?’ ‘Why only one?’ was the astonishing reply. ‘Why not two?’

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

Invest for GOOD which means invest so that you benefit, your clients benefit, the company in which you invest benefits and society benefits.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

History. History does repeat itself and a lot can be learned from history

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

Hopefully it will inspire people to invest to make the world a better place.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an investor like you?

Study, study, study. Learn as much as you can and never give up studying and learning.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Study people.
  2. Be patient
  3. Make decisions based on logic and not emotion.
  4. Learn to delegate.
  5. Have faith in people.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A movement of LOVE.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We have a blog on the Mobius Capital Partners website: www.mobiuscapitalpartners.com, and you can also follow us on Twitter @mobiuscap

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

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