'The Boss' Mobius urges loosening foreign ownership laws


Posted at Apr 29 2016 09:35 PM

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Emerging markets investor Mark Mobius has viewed the Philippines a global leader in business processing outsourcing operations, but he sees one area for improvement: foreign ownership.

"The Philippines public market is limited—the companies you can choose that are liquid enough for you to buy is limited and the valuations are very high," he told Cathy Yang on 'The Boss.'

To improve foreign ownership, Mobius suggested to"take away the limits on foreign ownerships" and to "move state-owned enterprises to the market."

The privatization of many state-owned enterprises in Vietnam, as it transitions from a a state-controlled economy to a market-led economy, was enough for the country to land in Mobius' 'basket of favorites.'

After three years of funds exiting emerging markets, he noted, "we are now seeing a turning point."

"Most major investors are severely underweight in emerging markets and in Asia. They have to get back in and when that happens, of course, the markets will turn pretty rapidly," he said.

Mobius also expressed disbelief in "the pundits who are negative on China."

"China is a controlled economy. It is not a free-market economy. Its state directs where its assets are going to go. And if the financial sector gets into trouble, the state will step in very quickly," he said.

The executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group was in Manila to launch MyTown, a condominium project that targets call center agents and other young urban professionals.

He may have turned over the reins of the company to Stephen Dover, but Mobius said he's enjoying life as it is.

"Life is great because I now have the chance to sit back and to pontificate about what’s happening globally. I have more time to do things like [visiting Manila] and more time to spend on new ideas like private equity."

There is also no stopping this boss from continuing his travels, from which he has discovered Vietnam, or continue investing in emerging markets.

"I want to spend more time on how are these companies around the world, how these countries around the world being impacted by these new revolutions [led by the Internet and the smartphone]"