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In a recent interview with Reuters (video linked herein), Timothy Drinkall, a portfolio manager for Morgan Stanley’s Frontier Emerging Markets Fund (NYSE:FFD) touts investing in Bangladesh, a country Drinkall’s fund has had exposure to for over two years, while the MSCI just added it to their Frontier Markets Index (at 1.8%) this past May.  Drinkall opines that Bangaldesh is at “the very early stages of an investment boom” and is thus the anti-Vietnam, an economy he feels will struggle to grow in the near-term like it has for the past decade.  While Bangladesh’s economy is roughly the same size as Vietnam’s, its FDI/capita is strongly lagging at $95 versus 6.5.  Moreover, Drinkall argues, its banking system in particular is vastly “underpenetrated,” with total loans/GDP in the 40-45% range, versus Vietnam’s 2009 reading of 142%, and most firms are correspondingly underleveraged.  A quick look at FFD’s makeup finds  Bangladesh’s Brac Bank, in its Top 25 holdings.  Aside from being overweight Bangaldesh, Drinkall is also bullish on Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kenya, Lebanon and Argentina from an overall, top-down standpoint.

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JGW

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