Skip to main content

Rebuttle To 'King Of Emerging Markets' On Liquidity

The KLCI traded sideways for the past few weeks. One after another, foreign research units have downgraded Malaysian equities in preference for other bourses (e.g. Merrill Lynch, UBS and CLSA). Mark Mobius is the closest thing "emerging markets" will get that resembles Donald Trump. The traveling emerging markets' hero could easily pass as a "baddie" in a James Bond movie. Yet, what he says is followed closely by the international media... cos ... there is no one who champions the emerging markets quite like Mobius. The savvy self-promoter does very well for himself and his company (Templeton Emerging Funds Inc) - the firm probably lets him have a high profile as that would bring in the business, no doubt.

The Edge did an interview with Mobius (Oct 17, 2005 issue) and he highlighted a few interesting factors to explain why foreign funds are shying away from Malaysian stocks.

MM: " lack of liquidity ... need to grow the market... need to privatise the pension funds.."

Dali: There is only so much Malaysian markets can grow. Do you know how small we are. Take any ONE of the Top 10 market cap stocks in the US, any ONE is bigger than the entire listed market cap of the 1,000 odd listed companies. We are small, our base is small. Any credible foreign fund would probably only look at the top 25 market capitalised stocks as they are sufficiently big enough and liquid enough to move in and out. You CANNOT just ask us to grow our markets. To even have 20-30 stocks that are big enough to satisfy international fund managers' requirements is a task in itself. So, don't just open your mouth and say we need to grow and need more stocks with liquidity WHEN you should know better than others that "big companies" are hard to come by or be nurtured on a base population of 24 million.

On privatising our pension funds, I think we need to protect more the retirement funds of Malaysians, rather than provide additional revenue for foreign fund managers (who may or may not improve on overall long term returns). I am sure Mobius would like us to privatise more of our pension funds...

On the liquidity issue, well again that boils down to the size of a normal big company in Malaysia. It takes time to grow an international company. You do not expect the MISCs and Petronas or Maybanks to just give up more shares just to satisfy the foreign funds investing requirements??!! Having said that, Mobius do have a point here, Government linked corporations and other top 50 market cap firms need to consider allowing more shares in the hands of the public in order to provide sufficient liquidity. There is not much point in holding over 50% of shares to maintain control when 40% will do. In fact recent studies have indicated that large companies (especially government linked firms) have outperformed the market over an extended period AFTER they have reduced their shareholding (creating more free float in the markets). If big boys cannot get in and out easily, they won't be interested.

Liquidity is not so simple. Do we just want to boost liquidity so that more foreign funds can invest in certain stocks? If that's the case - pray tell, what is the rationale for doing that, what benefit can we gain from getting foreign funds to invest. Do they somehow result in higher valuations (possibly), but so too will the fall be greater (when they pull out)... We want foreign direct investments NOT share traders, FDIs will result in employment and long term committment to the local economy. There is no difference in having Templeton as a holder of Malaysian stocks than say EPF. Unless we are saying that there are INSUFFICIENT local funds buying/holding Malaysian shares - which I don't believe to be the case. EPF could easily lift the active investing level in local shares substantially without hurting the overall risk portfolio.

Sure, foreign fund managers will belittle and crticise the short comings of investing in the Malaysian markets. Some are constructive but some should be IGNORED especially when the main beneficiaries of their talk is foreign funds themselves. We need to appreciate things that are beneficial to Malaysia like FDIs, and capital/bond raising for Malaysian corporates and the government.


Popular posts from this blog

My Master, A National Treasure

REPOST:  Its been more than two years since I posted on my sifu. This is probably the most significant posting I had done thus far that does not involve business or politics. My circle of close friends and business colleagues have benefited significantly from his treatment.

My Master, Dr. Law Chin Han (from my iPhone)

Where shall I start? OK, just based on real life experiences of those who are close to me. The entire Tong family (Bukit Kiara Properties) absolutely swear that he is the master of masters when it comes to acupuncture (and dentistry as well). To me, you can probably find many great dentists, but to find a real Master in acupuncture, thats a whole different ballgame.

I am not big aficionado of Chinese medicine or acupuncture initially. I guess you have to go through the whole shebang to appreciate the real life changing effects from a master.

My business partner and very close friend went to him after 15 years of persistent gout problem, he will get his heavy attacks at least…

PUC - An Assessment

PUC has tried to reinvent itself following the untimely passing of its founder last year. His younger brother, who was highly successful in his own right, was running Pictureworks in a number of countries in Asia.

The Shares Price Rise & Possible Catalysts

Share price has broken its all time high comfortably. The rise has been steady and not at all volatile, accompanied by steady volume, which would indicate longer term investors and some funds already accumulating nd not selling back to the market.

Potential Catalyst #1

The just launched Presto app. Tried it and went to the briefing. Its a game changer for PUC for sure. They have already indicated that the e-wallet will be launched only in 1Q2018. Now what is Presto, why Presto. Its very much like Lazada or eBay or Alibaba. Lazada is a platform for retailers to sell, full stop. eBay is more for the personal one man operations. Alibaba is more for wholesalers and distributors.

Presto links retailers/f&b/services originators with en…

How Long Will The Bull Lasts For Malaysia

Are we in a bull run? Of course we are. Not to labour the point but I highlighted the start of the bull run back in January this year... and got a lot of naysayers but never mind:

p/s: needless to say, this is Jing Tian ... beautiful face and a certain kind of freshness in her looks and acting career thus far

I would like to extend my prediction that the bull run for Bursa stocks should continue to run well till the end of the year. What we are seeing for the past 3 weeks was a general lull where volume suddenly shrunk but the general trend is still intact. My reasons for saying so:

a) the overall equity markets globally will be supported by a benign recovery complemented by a timid approach to raising rates by most central banks

b) thanks to a drastic bear run for most commodities, and to a lesser extent some oil & gas players, the undertone for "cost of materials" have been weak and has pr…