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Eighty one-year old legend returns seeking £200 million
13/09/2018 , Ian Orton

It sometimes seems that old investment managers don’t die, or even fade away. They just form new investment management companies.

Twelve years ago Nils Taube a former colleague of George Soros and adviser to Lord Rothschild launched Nils Taube Investments at the age 76, ten years after launching Taube Hodson Stonex, another new investment management firm with John Hodson and Cato Stonex.
 
“I have a 93-year old mother and old mothers are very expensive”, he quipped with a twinkle in his eye in a response to a question I asked him in 1998 about the wisdom of establishing a new company long after the age at which most people then retired.
 
Now Dr Mark Mobius, the veteran emerging markets investor, has gone five years further than Mr Taube by launching a new firm at the age of 81.
 
After retiring from Franklin Templeton in January 2018, where he had spent three decades focusing on emerging markets investing, he launched London-based Mobius Capital Partners in May along with Carlos Hardenberg and Greg Konieczny, two former colleagues. 
 
Indeed in 2015 Mr Hardenberg succeeded Dr Mobius as lead manager at Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust (TEMIT), the big London-listed closed-ended investment company Dr Mobius managed for many years. 
 
Perhaps not surprisingly Mobius Capital Partners will focus on investing in emerging markets and is preparing for the launch of a new investment trust that hope to raise at least £200 million through an initIal public offering (IPO).
 
All three founders of Mobius Capital Partners will participate in the issue by contributing around £5.7 million of capital.
 
The new trust, which is called Mobius Investment Trust plc will invest in a concentrated portfolio of between 20 and 30 small and medium-sized companies across emerging and frontier markets and have an environmental, social and governance (ESG) focus.
 
“At the heart of our investment philosophy is an active approach to investing,” Mobius Capital says on its website. “We create value by partnering with companies to drive improvements in governance and operational performance.
 
“Lower ESG standards in emerging and frontier markets offer a unique opportunity for our active investment approach. We seek to deliver value by delivering a clear ESG pathway for our portfolio companies.”
 
The new company aims to list on the London Stock Exchange’s new market on 1 October.
 
Emerging and frontier markets have had a hard time in 2018 following an appreciation in the value of the US dollar.
 
Nonetheless with emerging market valuations at levels similar to those around 10-years ago at the height of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) this could be a good time to invest in this asset class.
 
Dr Mobius is not the only veteran investor to take this view. Jeremy Grantham, the 80-year old  British-born co-founder of Boston-based GMO also shares this view and conviction.
 
Mobius Investment Trust plc is targeting annualised total returns of between 12 percent to 15 percent  with dividends contributing “a meaningful component”.
 

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