Readers of Mark Mobius’s book Passport to Profits will know of the 84 ‘Mobius Rules’ to emerging markets investing, which the investment guru has crafted over 21 years running the asset class for Templeton Asset Management.
After attending a luncheon with the globetrotter who has built a career from buying up cheap stocks, Unbalanced thinks he should pen another rule. Mobius Rule No. 85: Never, ever, leave a bargain on the table because it’s liable to be snatched away. Mobius was understandably hungry after delivering a presentation on the outlook for frontier markets while those in attendance munched sirloin beef and sipped some red before setting upon a tasty chocolate soufflé from the Sydney- Hilton kitchen.
After the presentation wound-up, questions were answered and a round of thanks was said, Mobius sat down to tuck into the gourmet grub waiting for him at the head table – starting with dessert. A few bites into the soufflé, Mobius traded jokes with Templeton staff and answered further questions from remaining audience members before turning his attention to the main – until he noticed something was amiss. “Where’s my dessert?” he asked in a tone one presumes is usually reserved for the unhelpful CFO of some Korean chaebol .
It all became a bit surreal, as arguably the world’s greatest emerging markets investor kept right on staring at the newly-cleared space on the tablecloth. “I was looking forward to the rest of that chocolate soufflé. I had my eye on it all the time.” This disappointment was heightened when he learned from the restaurant staff that another serving was not available, because a soufflé flattens after 15 minutes or so.
“I don’t care – bring me out a flat one.” The kitchen, however, would not comply as it was uncomfortable serving below-par food. Mobius looked a bit flat himself, and it’s easy to understand why: the seasoned bargain hunter had just let a flavoursome, attractively priced dessert slip from his grasp. At least he got to nibble a few basis points’ worth.