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5 investment principles that Mark Mobius continues to be known for


Mark Mobius, a well-known investor with a long and distinguished career in emerging markets, is stepping down from the investment firm he co-founded, Mobius Capital Partners. This decision is the conclusion of his active participation in the management of assets and investments on behalf of his clients. This move is a significant milestone for Mobius, which has been a pioneer in the field of investing in emerging markets for over four decades.

Mobius left an indelible mark on the investment scene. His firm belief in the potential of emerging markets and a contrarian investment approach explain his strong support for companies or regions overlooked by mainstream investors. His insights and expertise have greatly contributed to the advancement and expansion of the emerging markets asset class.

In a world where investors focus on chaos and momentum, Mobius stood out from the rest. His ability to assess the finances of businesses and companies that had been largely overlooked underpinned his long-standing success in the field of investments. The core principles of the Mobius investment philosophy include:

Stay invested for a long time

Mobius’ commitment to the long term is evident in its steadfast confidence in the fundamentals of emerging markets. Recognizing the potential in these economies, characterized by growing middle classes, rapidly changing infrastructure, and a vibrant entrepreneurial ethos, he expected sustained economic growth. This conviction has enabled him to weather short-term market fluctuations and maintain a steady focus on the broader, long-term perspective.

In addition, Mobius’ willingness to invest in companies not yet generally recognized by mainstream investors was a key differentiator. Unambiguous in his approach, he proactively pursued opportunities in unexplored territories. This contrarian approach allowed him to uncover hidden gems that eventually emerged as market leaders, which played a significant role in his investment success.

Relevant details

The ability to research and assess market conditions more broadly emphasizes Mark’s ability to understand the local context when investing in emerging markets. This includes addressing the economic landscape, business environment and management capabilities. His meticulous approach to research has enabled him to make informed investment decisions and navigate the complexities of these dynamic markets.

His ability to gather and analyze information from a variety of sources, combined with his first-hand experience of emerging markets, empowered him to make informed decisions that consistently outperformed the broader market. His ability to identify businesses in emerging markets is firmly rooted in his commitment to research and deep understanding of these dynamic and transformative economies.

Going against the flow

Mark’s risk-taking strategy has enabled him to spot and invest in opportunities that others often overlook, leading to significant long-term returns. However, this does not imply a reckless approach to assessing business risks. Early on, he identified markets that could have better returns over long periods. Through his contrarian approach, Mobius skillfully identified and invested in companies that eventually emerged as market leaders, playing a key role in his investment success.

Focus on financial discipline

Mark showed a significant preference for companies with a high return on equity (ROE). ROE serves as a metric that measures a company’s ability to generate profits from its investments, reflecting its efficiency in using shareholder capital. Throughout his career spanning several decades, Mobius firmly held the view that companies with a consistently high ROE were strategically positioned for growth and sustained long-term returns.

In addition, it favored companies with low levels of debt. Excessive debt can weigh down a company, making it susceptible to financial distress, especially in volatile emerging markets. Mobius continued to target companies with strong balance sheets and manageable debt levels, ensuring their financial stability and ability to cope with challenging market conditions.

Don’t ignore ESG factors

Mark Mobius’ commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors reflects his belief that long-term investment success depends not only on financial performance but also on a company’s ESG practices. He acknowledged that companies with strong TSR practices are more likely to be sustainable and provide lasting shareholder value.

Mobius’ commitment to ESG factors was reflected in its scrutiny of a company’s environmental impact. He actively sought out companies committed to reducing their environmental footprint, reducing pollution, and conserving resources. Mobius believed that companies with strong environmental practices were better able to cope with future environmental regulations and align with changing consumer preferences.

Mobius will always remain a name to be reckoned with. His influence transcends his individual financial success; he has profoundly shaped the investment landscape of emerging markets, inspiring successive generations of investors to adopt a contrarian long-term view.

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Updated: 19 November 2023, 10:59 AM IST

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