According to the bio on his personal website, Mark Mobius has visited 112 countries, invested in 5000 plus companies, written 12 books, and traveled over 1 million miles. He’s also spent 30 plus years managing over $40 billion in assets. Impressive stuff… and we haven’t even mentioned his star turn as the ‘Bald Eagle’ in a Magna comic book yet. Mobius is clearly an interesting guy, and one certainly worth finding out more about. Do exactly that with these things you didn’t know about Mark Mobius.
1. He was a late developer
If you’re worried your kid seems a little aimless, don’t be. If they’re anything like Mobius, they’ll get there in the end. Despite his extensive achievements, Mobius was an admittedly late developer. Although he’d trained in the arts, he had precious little idea of what he wanted to do in the long term. His mother wanted him to be a doctor. He, on the other hand, was clueless. In a bid to delay the inevitable, he became something of a ‘professional’ mature student. But there’s only so long even the most committed procrastinator can spend at college. In the end, Mobius decided to seek outside help. He visited a counselor who duly asked him to write a list of the things that made him happy. After looking at what he’d written, the counselor told Mobius “you’ve got to get yourself into something where you are constantly changing and moving.” So that’s exactly what he did.
2. He trained as an actor
Back in the 1950s, Mobius seemed to be headed in a very different direction to where he’d eventually land up. In those days, the investor was studying for a dramatic arts degree. Although he wasn’t sure what he’d do at the end of his studies, his interest in theatre, art, and music seemed to point towards a life on the stage. His parents – immigrants from Germany and Puerto Rico – didn’t have the resources to fund Mobius’s college tuition, so he picked up odd jobs waiting tables, performing, and playing the piano in nightclubs. Working the stage, he started discovering a passion for psychology, something that, unbeknown to him at the time, would later have a huge impact on his investment strategy. As he tells bu.edu, Mobius believes many investors fall into the trap of becoming too concerned about balance sheets to notice the people behind them running the business. He, on the other hand, believes in getting out on the ground to explore and discover what drives the company leaders.
3. He’s worked as a talent agent
After finally leaving university (or, universities, to be accurate – although he earned his B.A. and M.S. from Boston University and his Ph.D. from MIT, he also managed to take in spells at the University of Wisconsin, University of New Mexico, and Kyoto University), Mobius started his career. But just as he’d had difficulty in sticking to just the one university, so, it turned out, he’d have difficulty in sticking to just the one job. During the first few decades of his professional life, he managed to build a resume that included talent agent, communication teacher, political consultant, market researcher, and marketer of Snoopy merchandise. Eventually, he found some stability as the president of Mega International Investment Trust Company in Taipei.
4. He began working with Templeton in 1987
In 1987, Sir John Templeton put an end to Mobius’s ever-changing career when he asked him to take the reins at Templeton Emerging Markets. Mobius would eventually stay over 30 years with the firm, becoming one of the country’s most renowned and respected investors in the process. By the end of his tenure, the company was managing over $40 billion in assets in 70 different countries.
5. He carries two passports
He may be well past the age of retirement, but Mobius has no plans on retreating to a life of golf and gardening anytime soon. Neither has he any plans on retiring either one of his two passports. Although he has a permanent home in Singapore, he spends less time in it than he does on an airplane. The perpetual jet setter spends the vast majority of the year traveling to far-flung destinations, always on the lookout for a new market to invest in. During a 2010 interview with City A.M., he even joked that the reason he’d never married was because “I’d be divorced by now because of the traveling I do.”
6. He thinks the secret to success is being happy in what you do
Mobius has sometimes joked that he never takes a vacation because his vocation is his avocation, and it’s clear that he loves what he does. It’s also clear that his passion for his job is a large part of the reason he’s proved so successful at it. Speaking to emergingmarkets.blog, he revealed that he believes that the key to a successful career is loving what you’re doing. “If you’re not happy, don’t do it,” he recommends. “Do something else.”
7. He founded Mobius Capital Partners in 2018
During the end of his tenure with Templeton, Mobius was moved into a more advisory role. But he’s clearly a man who prefers to be doing rather than consulting, something he proved in 2018 when he and two former Templeton colleagues, Greg Konieczny and Carlos von Hardenberg, founded Mobius Capital Partners. Speaking to citywireselector.com about why he hadn’t retired despite being well into his 80s, Mobius responded ‘I want to put my money to work. It doesn’t make sense to be retired, sitting on some beach in an emerging market. Of course, I will be sitting on beaches in the emerging markets but that will my work.’
8. He’s won a string of awards
Thanks to his almost unparalleled success as an investor, Mobius has been honored with numerous awards and accolades over the course of his career. Just a small selection includes Asia Money – Top 100 Most Powerful and Influential People; Bloomberg Markets Magazine – 50 Most Influential People; Global Investor Magazine – Life Time Achievement Award; and African Investor – Africa Investor Index Series Award.
9. He’s written several books
Mobius is clearly a man who likes to be busy. When he’s not jet-setting around the globe or managing billions of dollars in assets, he’s putting pen to paper with the likes of ‘The Investor’s Guide to Emerging Markets’, ‘Passport to Profits’, ‘Mobius on Emerging Markets’, ‘Invest for Good’, and ‘The Little Book of Emerging Markets’.
10. He’s featured in a comic book
Not only has Mobius written several publications, he’s even managed to appear in one. In 2017, he made his debut as ‘The Bald Eagle’ in the comic book ‘Mark Mobius – An Illustrated Biography’.