Emerging Markets' Mobius to Retire -- WSJ

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (January 6, 2018).

Emerging-markets guru and evangelist Mark Mobius, who has spent more than three decades with Franklin Templeton Investments, will retire from the global investment-management firm at the end of the month.

Mr. Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, joined the firm in 1987 to launch one of the first funds dedicated to emerging markets. His star rose during an ensuing bull market and, with his signature shaved head, trotted the globe to meet executives of companies he and his team invested in. A prolific writer, Mr. Mobius became among the best-known evangelists for investing in Asia and Latin America and, later, Africa and other "frontier" markets.

"There is no single individual who is more synonymous with emerging-markets investing than Mark Mobius," said Greg Johnson, Franklin Resources Inc. chairman and chief executive. Franklin Resources operates as Franklin Templeton Investments.

Mr. Mobius, 81 years old, was born to German and Puerto Rican parents in New York. He earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from Boston University and Ph.D.'s in economics and political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Over the past 15 years, the Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust has returned 16.2% annualized, roughly 4 percentage points above the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, according to Morningstar.

All told, Mr. Mobius worked in emerging-markets investing for more than 40 years and captained Templeton's emerging-markets team from 1987 to 2016. What began with $100 million in the Templeton Emerging Markets Fund blossomed into the firm's sprawling Emerging Markets Group, with more than $28 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30. San Mateo, Calif.-based Franklin Resources had more than $753 billion in assets under management as of Nov. 30.

Franklin Templeton has for years planned his succession. Mr. Mobius stepped down in 2015 as the lead manager of the flagship Templeton Emerging Markets Trust. In 2016, he transitioned the management of the markets group to Stephen Dover, Templeton Emerging Markets Group's chief investment officer. Recently, Mr. Mobius has served as an external spokesman for the group and often shared his views on emerging-market investments.

Mr. Mobius last year received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Global Investor Magazine. He is a member of the Economic Advisory Board of the International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group. He is also the author of several books, including "Trading with China," "The Investor's Guide to Emerging Markets" and "Mobius on Emerging Markets."

"Why invest in emerging markets?" Mr. Mobius wrote in "The Little Book of Emerging Markets," published in 2012. "Because that's where the growth is."

Write to Aisha Al-Muslim at aisha.al-muslim@wsj.com and Chris Dieterich at chris.dieterich@wsj.com

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January 06, 2018 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)