Sunday 2011-10-09

Passport to Profits by Mark Mobius.

Mobius invests in emerging markets; he avoids workouts, investing when people want money and selling when people want to buy. Since everyone's happy to see him, his security team operates at much lower costs. I presume that he's thought about these security issues even though he attempts to go jogging in Johannesburg (chapter on South Africa) and believes that X-ray telescopes for rifles exist (chapter on Russia).

He tells the story of Mikhail Manevich's assassination by rooftop sniper while Manevich was riding in a Volvo sedan, ascribing to an X-ray scope the shots that hit only the target and none of the passengers. The sniper probably knew the car's approach and Manevich's seat and took a vantage point with a shot through a window. I hate to think that the sniper only knew the seating and chose to shoot through the roof; that would mean the sniper had a good amount of practice shooting blind into that sedan class of Volvos.

For every Mobius-like banker that apparently does not work with mercenaries, one wonders how many others do? After all, companies like the United Fruit Company were thriving less than 100 years ago.

Before I'm willing to risk any funds under our management in one of these spanking-new capital markets, we insist that it share a few basic characteristics with mature (First World) markets. I've defined these minimum requirements by an easy acronym: FELT. F - Fair, E - Efficient, L - Liquid, T - Transparent.
When I started out in this game (1987), with only around $100 million in the kitty (in contrast to today's $14 billion and climbing), only five Asian countries -- Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand -- fit the billing
-- Hope and Growth