1526, Hungary, and All That
A holiday detour through history
LATIFUNDIA. Now, there’s a word that made us stop and Google it.
The holiday season is usually a great time to catch up on one’s bedtime reading. In keeping with this, last month we gifted ourselves (probably overriding Santa’s naughty list in the process) with Francis Fukuyama’s 2011 work The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, a gripping page-turner for nerds (like yours truly) and particularly for wannabe political scientists (again, like yours truly).
This was the book in which we had encountered that wonderfully delightful word, latifundia, which caused us to repeatedly utter it aloud one night – apropos of nothing – to the mystification of our TV-watching spouse, who thereupon braced herself for what she assumed was a husbandly onset. (Think John Cleese speaking in Italian and Russian to Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie A Fish Called Wanda.)
Angels, and Devils in the Details
Talking shops are more than just about keeping up with the Joneses
CONFERENCES can be wonderful experiences, assuming you’re not jet-lagged and you don’t actually sit through all the conference sessions (yawn). It’s somewhat like college: you pick the sessions worth physically showing up for, and decide which ones to sacrifice for the sake of networking with peers (not to mention swiping sponsor freebies such as pens, USB flash drives, post-it pads, etc.). Now we hope none of our children get to read this, lest they think we parents are okay with cutting any classes whatsoever. Heaven forbid.
During last month’s Asian Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ) Forum in Hong Kong, we benefited just as much from topics discussed during the plenary and breakouts as from confidences exchanged during coffee breaks. A particularly fascinating one-on-one conversation we had (in between bites of mushroom quiche and sips of bubbly) was with a private equity managing partner who candidly lamented his travails in the arcane realm of Sharia law-compliant investing.
Angeon Advisors had the pleasure of joining the panel "Emerging Market Focus Groups: Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar" at the 26th AVCJ Forum (Nov 13-14, 2013, The Four Seasons Hong Kong). Angeon was delighted to champion the case for private equity investments in the Philippines during an event attended by hundreds of private equity industry professionals from Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Photo courtesy of AVCJ / Incisive Media. For more snapshots of the event, visit http://www.avcjforum.com/avcj-event-gallery.
Recently, the Cebu Registered Financial Consultants (RFC) Club held the half-day seminar "The Uses of Offshore Trusts and Offshore Companies", during which one of the featured speakers was Atty. SP Sumulong, Director at AFP Group (and also concurrently a Director at alternatives manager Angeon Advisors).
The seminar, which formed part of the Cebu RFC Club's continuing education program, was attended by over 100 RFCs and their colleagues and guests, and elicited a stream of lively questions on topics ranging from insurance products to tax planning across various countries; from family disputes over wills to fine points of common law. The briefing given by AFP Group's Directors did much to demystify the subject of offshore vehicles, and generated examples of situations in which offshore structures could be appropriately considered.
The Asian Venture Capital Journal has written a thoughtful piece on the struggles that Western-style private equity firms face when entering places like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines, where the leading family-owned conglomerates hold formidable advantages in terms of sheer capital resources and pervasive presence across large swaths of the local economies.
Angeon Advisors had the opportunity to share a few comments with AVCJ writer Andrew Woodman. We said we were pleasantly surprised to discover that quite a few promising, mid-sized firms in Philippines are keen to see professional financial investors provide alternatives to local conglomerates intent on reaping synergies.
Remarkably, some of the other PE managers Mr. Woodman interviewed expressed views that could have just as well been voiced by Angeon itself -- most notably the article's concluding paragraph:
"There are a lot of investors interested," says VinaCapital's [Andy] Ho. "But if you don't have the boots on the ground, most of the time your investments will end in tears."
Philippines’s Got Talent – in Spades
The human-capital space doesn’t get more lively than this
WE FOUND OURSELVES in Dubai and Abu Dhabi some years back, talking shop with firms in the finance, IT, and hospitality sectors. Unbidden, and tangential to the discussion, all sang praises to the quality of their Filipino employees. One company even confessed that if one fine day (in a self-inflicted doomsday) the Emirati government suddenly decides to expel all guest workers, Filipinos would be the utter last to get retrenched, and employers would fight tooth-and-nail to retain these.
All this was ringing testament to the skill, education, positive cultural traits, service orientation, value-add, and global competitiveness of the Filipino employee, whether blue-collar or white-. We’ve heard similar compliments in Singapore about Filipino professionals, in Hong Kong about household help, and in Riyadh about construction workers and engineers.
However, some argue that there’s self-selection bias going on; that the best-quality talent flies the coop, while the dregs are left as fodder for the domestic economy.
The panel discussion
View from the Buy Side
"We talk to fund managers about their views on the Philippines market and attractiveness of the small- and mid-cap sectors."
Photo courtesy of Haymarket, publisher of AsianInvestor and FinanceAsia, and organizer of the inaugural Rising Stars of the Philippines Forum.
The panel discussion
"Looking at opportunities in some of the benchmark sectors in the Philippines today - real estate, banking, mining, and BPO - and how small- and mid-cap companies can gain attention from international investors."
Photo courtesy of Haymarket. For more photos of the conference, held last October 17, 2013 at the Solaire Resort in Manila, visit
Angeon Advisors will join the panel "Emerging Market Focus Groups: Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar" at 2:15-3:45 PM on November 13, 2013, during the 26th Annual Asian Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ) Private Equity and Venture Forum, slated for November 12-14th at the Four Seasons Hong Kong.
For more details on this upcoming AVCJ conference, please visit http://www.avcjforum.com/home. Below is the latest PDF of the conference program and list of speakers.
Angeon Advisors is delighted to participate at next week's inaugural "Rising Stars of the Philippines" conference, organized by FinanceAsia and AsianInvestor. Watch out for us at the panel discussion "View From the Buy Side" at 11:30 AM.
Angeon Advisors is an independent alternatives manager specializing in private equity and venture capital growth themes in the Philippines and other markets in Asia. Angeon also provides financial advisory services to very select clients.