Emerging Markets Growth Spots: LatAm and Turkey
TOM BUTCHER: I’m here today with Patricia and David of VanEck’s Emerging Markets Equity team to discuss exciting growth spots in today’s emerging markets.
Patricia, can you tell me about one of your favorite growth spots?
PATRICIA GONZALEZ: I think we’ll continue to see very good opportunities arise from the low level of credit penetration in the SME (small- and medium-sized enterprise) segment of Latin America, particularly Mexico. We have seen that the lack of alternatives for this segment has left SMEs with very few options to rely on.
When we look at Mexico we see that the SME segment is extremely important. The majority of companies in the country fall within the SME segment. These businesses generate more than 50% of Mexico’s GDP and also provide a majority of the country’s employment. In our strategy, we take advantage of these opportunities through a company called Unifin1. Unifin is the largest listed company in Mexico focusing specifically on SMEs. In our experience, the kind of lending that banks provide to SMEs is mostly lines of working capital. They are very short term and consequently there is a huge need and opportunity for the funding of fixed assets.
Unifin is very well-positioned to take advantage of that potential growth. With first-mover advantage, it has been in business for over 20 years and has developed a number of products and services for its clients. It has a very good distribution network that has supported its growth and the company has been very profitable. Its strict risk controls and leasing guarantees have allowed it to maintain good asset quality. When we look at management, we find the team has been in the business for a long time and has developed very strong know-how in the leasing market. Management has been able to meet clients’ needs expediently, which has contributed to increased market share. Finally, we think Unifin’s valuation is attractive in terms of the company’s growth and the returns it delivers.
BUTCHER: Speaking with Patricia, she mentioned an exciting opportunity in Mexico. What is your favorite growth spot in the emerging markets?
DAVID FEYGENSON: We see structural growth opportunities resulting from governmental reforms or policy changes that allow new businesses and sectors to flourish. We’re currently seeing this in Turkey, where several years ago the government announced private pension funds similar to 401(k)s in the U.S., which permit individuals to contribute tax-deferred money towards retirement with the government matching contributions up to a certain point.
We are invested with Turkey’s largest pension fund provider, which currently comprises about 20% of the market: AvivaSA2. AvivaSA is a joint venture between Sabanci Group, a large Turkish conglomerate, and Aviva, a large U.K.-based insurance company. Since the implementation of this private pension system, we’ve seen the number of participants increase. Additionally, assets under management have been increasing at roughly 35% per annum over the last five years. There is approximately $17 billion in assets under management in the pension fund industry, so there is plenty of scope for this to grow further over the next several years. AvivaSA allows us to capture this growth and to benefit from potential additional changes the government may implement, such as auto-enrollment requiring people to opt-out of the system rather than opt-in, or requiring that companies offer their employees pension funds. AvivaSA has a large and robust distribution network and is well-positioned to capture growth in the space. We’re very excited about the opportunity.
BUTCHER: Thank you very much.
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1 Unifin is 0.90% of Van Eck Emerging Markets Fund net assets, as of 3/31/16
2 AvivaSA is 0.48% of Van Eck Emerging Markets Fund net assets, as of 3/31/16
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