It is with mixed emotions that I’m leaving Franklin Templeton Investments, but I’m excited about the next chapter of my life and what the future will bring. It’s been a bittersweet whirlwind of activity after I announced plans to retire after more than 30 years with the company.
As many of you may be aware by now, I announced plans to retire after more than 30 years with Franklin Templeton Investments, effective January 31, 2018. Before I share my final, parting words on this forum, I’d like to take a look back at how emerging markets have changed since I first began investing in the space.
I visited Brazil in the spring of this year, but wanted to go back and explore more areas of the country. Brazil has faced some hard times but appears to be bouncing back from a prolonged recession, so I was interested to gauge the mood of the people and businesses there.
At this time of the year, smog in Beijing, China, can be overwhelming. Throughout the city this fog/smog prevents the sun from shining through. But, the pollution problems have not clouded financial activity.
While emerging markets have been my area of focus for several decades, I also travel extensively to developed countries, too. It’s quite enlightening to see how once “emerging” countries still cherish their heritage.
My recent travels took me to Eastern Europe, where I had the opportunity to meet with colleagues and discuss the latest developments in the region. I thought I’d invite Greg Konieczny, who is based in Romania, to share some of his insights.
My colleagues and I have been championing the message that emerging markets have changed—they are no longer just commodity plays. Old economic models are undergoing a transformation in many cases, opening up exciting new investment opportunities.
Many years ago, I had visited Chile and wanted to learn more about a mining company there. Its CEO happened to be a Croatian who had immigrated to Chile and became quite wealthy. At the time of our meeting in the late 1990s, we traveled together to a large Chilean copper mine and he showed me the entire operation.
Templeton Emerging Markets Group has a wide investment universe to cover—tens of thousands of companies in markets on nearly every continent. While we are bottom-up investors, we also take into account big-picture context. Here, I share the team’s overview of what has happened in the emerging-markets universe in the third quarter of 2017, including some key events, milestones and data points to offer some perspective.
This month, China’s leadership kicks off its 19th Communist Party Congress, a meeting which sets the agenda for China’s political, economic and even social path in years to come. More than 2,000 delegates from China’s ruling elite attend the Congress, which takes place every five years.