“Pangolin is Tenggiling in Bahasa Melayu” trumped James Hay, who founded the Pangolin Asia Fund back in 2004.
“This animal unearths rocks to find ants under it, and eats them” he continued. “The same can be said about Pangolin Asia Fund. We find
James Hay first came to Malaysia in 1993 from London during the stock market boom in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, he was sacked from his job in 1998 following the Asian Financial Crisis. “I then took whatever cash I had, dumped them in the stock market, and then went backpacking” he recollected.
“After about a year of bumming around, I came back and my portfolio grew. That’s my money growing without me doing anything. I invested in consumer stocks, and it paid off” he added.
The story of the ASEAN growth is one that is touted by many, but it seems James Hay has the clearest idea of them all.
“Just before we started this interview Ibrahim, we just had a Nescafé. In Malaysia, 1 in 4 consumers
We don’t want companies to destroy forests - unsustainable and unethical firms. They simply do not add value to the society and to the net worth of the country
Pangolin Asia Fund invests mostly in Consumer companies like Nestlé and Padini. And they are clear in what they will not invest in. “We don’t want companies to destroy forests - unsustainable and unethical firms. They simply do not add value to the society and to the net worth of the country” James outlined.
Apart from this, while the fund is not an ‘activist’ investor, Pangolin Asia Fund is considered to be a rather active investor.
“We always turn up at AGMs and EGMs. Every time we attend, we question the management and the board on their practices. These guys, when they see me in their AGMs, they always shake their heads murmuring ‘not James again’” he joked. But taking an active position in the companies that they invest in, they can shape how the companies are run and push them to become more efficient.
“We don’t tell Padini how to sell clothes. They know this better than we do. But we do tell Padini how to manage their balance sheet” informed James. This is just one of the many investment and management examples he provided during his exclusive interview with Ibrahim Sani.
Watch the full video to learn about how James Hay manages a half a billion ringgit fund
Podcast of the interview:
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