Boutique investment manager Maple-Brown Abbott will launch a global emerging markets (GEM) equity investment capability and has appointed John Moorhead to the newly created role of Head of Global Emerging Markets. Mr Moorhead is based in Sydney and reports to CEO and Managing Director, Sophia Rahmani, and CIO, Garth Rossler.
In this role, he will work with senior management to build-out the business’ GEM capability as well as serve as lead portfolio manager and investment analyst. As part of his remit, he will recruit additional investment analysts for the new offering. It is expected that a strategy will be available to investors by mid-2022.
Mr Moorhead was most recently Head of Emerging Market Equities with Pictet Asset Management in London, where he led a team of 20 investors managing US$6 billion in assets. He has now relocated to Sydney to join Maple-Brown Abbott.
Ms Rahmani said Mr Moorhead’s outstanding track record in GEM equities, as well as his focus on sustainable investing, means he is the ideal person to establish the new capability.
“A key component of our growth strategy is to actively seek opportunities to develop new offerings for investors, both through organic growth of existing capabilities and through acquisition, and GEM is a natural fit for our business.
“We have been managing Asian equities for nearly 20 years and have a deep and diverse investment team. Adding specialist GEM expertise will allow us to broaden our offering to investors, in an asset class where we see significant opportunities.
“Investing in GEM provides investors with the opportunity to gain exposure to some of the largest and fastest growing economies globally. In the past 20 years, emerging markets have risen from a quarter of world GDP to now close to half, while its equity markets are still a fraction of the size of those in the developed world.
“We are thrilled to have someone of John’s calibre and experience joining the Maple-Brown Abbott team and are excited to soon be able to provide a contemporary GEM solution to investors,” she said.
Mr Moorhead said one of the main attractions of joining Maple-Brown Abbott is the long history of investing in Asian emerging markets, backed by a deep and experienced Asian investment team.
“I was also attracted to the culture and institutional grade boutique structure, which provides a strong and supportive platform from which to build a contemporary and high-quality GEM offering.
“Emerging markets offer fertile ground for active management, where rigorous research and a disciplined investment process allows investors to uncover exciting opportunities.
“I plan to take a concentrated approach to investing in GEM by focusing on those companies with the prospect of generating sustainably strong cash returns on capital, run by shareholder-oriented management teams, and purchasing them at a discount to our estimate of fair value.
“Focusing on sustainable returns and valuations is core to my investment approach. It means investing for the long term and looking not just at the ESG risks that can be so important in emerging markets, but beyond that to those companies that can benefit multiple stakeholders to generate those sustainably high returns.
“A global financial centre like London was a fantastic environment in which to work for so long, particularly when learning to navigate the intricacies of investing in markets like Russia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. I’m looking forward to bringing those global learnings to Sydney, where I can invest from an Asian time zone and be closer to the engine of global growth that is emerging markets in Asia,” he said.
Mr Moorhead joined Pictet in 2008 and held the roles of Co-portfolio Manager and Head of Emerging Markets Research before being appointed Head of Emerging Market Equities in 2017. Prior to this, Mr Moorhead was with Macquarie Bank as a Research Analyst, initially in Sydney before moving to London. He started his career as a mining engineer at BHP Billiton in 2002.
He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment. He also holds a Bachelor degree (honours) of Mining Engineering from the University of Queensland.