We are experts in EM private investments
It was in 1953 that our forebears sowed the seeds of Sarona, investing in Sarona Dairies, Fortuna Shoes and other small businesses in South America. They soon expanded their portfolio to sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Throughout the many changes and reinventions that have defined our 67-year history, including the 10 years since the birth of the modern Sarona Asset Management, two things have remained constant: a) we have always been wholly focused on emerging markets; and b) we have always striven for a clear double vision: financial returns and social/environmental impact.
For our investors, we are the bridge to an investment opportunity that they can’t otherwise access. And that opportunity is tremendous: it took over 250 years for one billion of us to move from poverty to middle class, but it will take only 40 years for the next three billion people to make that transition. And those people are all in emerging markets. Think of it as a massive global disruption – people are moving from informal subsistence farming to formal jobs and double income families, from $1/day to $10/day and $50/day. The transition empowers families – the first thing they do is buy education for their children, healthcare for the family and protein for the plate.
As stewards of our investors capital, this is the only thing we do: invest in private companies in emerging markets that support the massive global disruption.
We are committed to strong financial returns
Investing from a distance is unnerving. Peru is so far away from UK, and Nigeria so far from USA. There’s no way you can keep an eye on your Brazilian communications company or your Kenyan SME bank. That’s where we come in.
We are here to lose sleep so that you don’t have to. As stewards of your capital, it is our job to keep watch, day and night. At the most basic level, we have to establish proper fiduciary and governance controls. But it goes further – we have to see to it that these companies and our local investment partners establish key performance indicators for financial, social and environmental success.
Our track record speaks to many hours of lost sleep, where we kept watch at night. Our trade finance portfolio has had only one negative quarter in the last eight years. Sometimes we skillfully dodged a bullet; at other times we were just plain lucky. Our SGGM private equity portfolios have also performed well. Despite massive foreign currency shocks in 2014/15, and many idiosyncratic risks in many countries, our portfolios are outperforming pretty much all ex-China emerging market benchmark and impact investing benchmarks.
We create deep and lasting impact
You can’t take it with you, so if you knew your life would end tomorrow, would you give it all away? To whom? Would you make things right? Would you be kinder? More generous?
It’s no longer about us.
- It’s about seeing the other – the women who walk the rockier path, the poor who just want a chance, the black lives that do matter.
- It’s about seeing the future – our grandchildren who will inherent the earth, and their grandchildren who will inherit what’s left.
Since our beginning in 1953, we have focused on impact investing. In its first Impact Report in 2009, J.P. Morgan surmised that Sarona was perhaps the oldest impact investment firm out there. That is rubbish, of course. Good people have invested in other good people since the dawn of time.