The dynamics of the global financial system have changed a great deal in the two years since Motley Fool Asset Management launched its $40 million go-anywhere Epic Voyage Fund.
“When we started, people couldn’t get enough of the emerging markets, especially the BRICs, but now, the tables have totally turned and it seems that people can’t get out of those markets fast enough,” said Bill Mann, Chief Investment Officer of Motley Fool Asset Management, and Portfolio Manager of the firm’s Independence, Great America, and Epic Voyage Funds. “The BRICs have been among the poorest performing countries in the world, in fact.”
Mann, though, doesn’t follow the global herds.
Although the Epic Voyage Fund and Motley Fool’s Independence Fund invest globally, “we don’t consider ourselves global investors, but rather investors with a global mandate,” Mann said. “That means we don’t wake up in the morning and say ‘I don’t have enough exposure to China or I need to find companies in Greece or in Belgium so I can tick off those boxes because our view is to find the best companies that are trading cheap wherever they exist.”
In fact, the funds don’t have any investments in 13 of the 23 countries included in the MSCI World Index against which they benchmark, but they do include holdings in countries like Indonesia, “which isn’t even in our index,” Mann said.
For Motley Fool, then, finding the best investment opportunities that offer growth potential means going counter-cyclically to the general direction of the stock market—something that the funds can easily do, Mann said, “because we are somewhat unconstrained in where we can go and what we can invest in.”