MCP: Can you tell us about your career up to date?
Marcin: My passion for capital markets and investing dates back to university. (My first stock investment at the time proved to be a rather painful experience!) This led me on to an internship at an asset management company and the realization that this was the career path I wanted to pursue.
Prior to joining Mobius Capital Partners, I was part of the emerging markets equity team at Franklin Templeton where I co-managed the Eastern European Fund and was responsible for sourcing investment opportunities from the region. I was also a member of both the Templeton’s emerging market private equity strategy as well as the active ownership group – two initiatives that deepened my interest in active investing.
Why did you decide to join Mobius Capital Partners?
I strongly believe in the investment strategy of the firm and the team behind it. I am convinced that an investment strategy which combines deep fundamental research with active ownership can deliver positive risk-adjusted results.
By actively engaging with portfolio companies, we aim at creating value by improving their ESG framework and positioning as well as their perception among other investors. At the same time we work with the companies to improve their business operations.
During my years at Templeton I observed that the greatest opportunities in emerging markets could be found within the small and mid-cap space. These companies are still relatively undiscovered by international investors and often offer above average growth prospects.
Mobius Capital Partners combines all these elements in one strategy and I am excited to be working with their experienced team on the execution of this unique approach.
Where do you see the greatest potential in Emerging and Frontier Markets?
In the current environment we see plenty of opportunities across different geographies. The last twelve months have been particularly difficult for emerging markets as concerns about the trade war and China’s slowdown have negatively impacted many EM currencies and market valuations. But depreciated currencies and low valuations have created opportunities for investors. For example, we see significant potential in the consumer and technology related sectors, which present the largest number of companies with sustainably growing business models
Furthermore, the vast majority of companies in our investment universe are not familiar with the concept of ESG and the impact it may have on their valuation over the long term, so there is an interesting upside potential there.
When it comes to particular countries, I do believe that the Brazilian equity markets offer countless opportunities as the economy is just about to recover after several difficult years. With the new government under President Bolsonaro’s leadership, we are positive about the prospects for the economy and see a number of opportunities in the consumer and industrials related space there.
Why do you believe in ESG investing?
I personally believe that ESG is nothing new to the industry – many investors have previously paid attention to the environmental, social and governance risk factors in their investments, at least to some degree. But I am glad to see that ESG has gained more prominence. By taking ESG factors into account, investors can significantly reduce the risk profile of their investments, which over the long term not only translates into positive risk-adjusted returns, but also positively impacts all stakeholders. I am convinced this is the future of investing.
In emerging markets, the “G-overnance” part of ESG investing plays a particularly important role. Despite the significant progress made in recent years, most EM companies still lag behind their developed-markets peers in this respect. There remains great potential for improvements in terms of how EM companies are governed and how minority investors are treated.
Your home country, Poland, has recently been upgraded from an “emerging market” to a “Developed country” by the FTSE Russell, the first country in almost a decade to be upgraded, and the first in Central and Eastern European. What in your opinion were the (economic) milestones since the fall of the Soviet Union, allowing for this re-rating?
Poland’s modern history has indeed been very complex and the country has undergone profound changes economically, politically and socially over the past three decades. Poland’s entry into the European Union in 2004 was a key milestones in our recent history. It created a big opportunity for Polish corporates who were now able to access the common market and it provided significant funding. But possibly most importantly for the first time Poles were able to work and study abroad. This I believe contributed to Poland becoming the dynamic and very entrepreneurial country it is today.
In another life, what would be your dream job?
I could imagine myself as a travel writer, – penning travel guides at some exciting off-the-beaten track location. Even though I cannot travel now as often as I used to, I remain a passionate backpacker, excited about getting to know new cultures, people, places and – last but no least – cuisine! (the spicier, the better!).