Investments 

Mobius and partners invest £5.7m in new trust

Mobius and partners invest £5.7m in new trust

The Mobius Investment Trust, founded by Mark Mobius and former colleagues from Franklin Templeton, will have £5.7m of the founders own capital invested in it at launch.

The trust will launch this month and focus its investments on small- and mid-cap stocks which are undervalued, have "resilient" business models and have the potential for ethical improvements.

The trust's board said it was seeking to raise £200m through an initial public offering (IPO), of which £5.7m will be supplied by the founding partners in the venture.

Mr Mobius and his fellow founding partners Carlos Hardenberg and Greg Konieczny previously worked together at Franklin Templeton.

The trust will invest in a portfolio of between 20 and 30 small- and mid-cap shares, which the board said was smaller than the average portfolio size for an emerging market trust, which is 72 stocks.

There will be a focus on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics of the companies in which they invest because the managers believe the dividend prospects of the underlying companies is improved if they follow ESG guidelines.

Mr Mobius said: "Carlos, Greg and I founded Mobius Capital Partners because we fundamentally believe the future of active investment is creating value through partnership and engagement.

"Emerging and frontier market companies provide a unique opportunity to enhance ESG performance. We will look to work with these firms to improve corporate governance, set out a broader ESG pathway and act as a catalyst for wider operational and financial improvements."

Mr Hardenberg succeeded Mr Mobius as manager of the Templeton Emerging Markets investment trust before defecting to join the new venture.

Meanwhile Mr Konieczny previously worked for Neptune as an emerging market fund manager and led Franklin Templeton's emerging market active ownership group.

Fergus Argyle, previously an equity analyst at Somerset Capital, and Usman Ali, a specialist in sustainable investment at Caravel, have also joined the new venture.

The trust's chairman will be Maria Luisa Cicognani, who previously worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development and at Italian investment bank Mediobanca.

The trust''s management fee will be based on the lower of its net asset value (NAV) and its market cap, with the fee reducing as these increase.

So if the NAV or market cap is below £500m the annual management will will be 1 per cent, but it they go above £1bn it will reduce to 0.75 per cent.

david.thorpe@ft.com