Rani Jarkas, a global well-known entrepreneur and industry-recognized leader who has years of experience in conducting business in Africa in the field of asset management and financial advisory services, was invited to co-sponsor the Africa Day 2013 – Business and Tourism Forum and the corresponding Gala Cocktail Event in Hong Kong on 20th May 2013 and 22nd May 2013 respectively. The two events were hosted by the African group of Consulates-General and Honorary Consuls in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to celebrate the Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary of the African Union.
The objective of the events was to promote the investment climate, exciting projects and tourism in Africa to global investors and business people alike. The events were attended by dignitaries, government delegates, distinguished African company executives and preeminent investors. The guest of honor at the gala cocktail was Mr. Gregory So Kam-leung, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Government of the HKSAR, who delivered a keynote speech.
Sponsorship of events like these exemplifies Rani Jarkas’ on-going commitment to facilitating business and capital flows to emerging markets, including the world’s two fastest-growing continents, Africa and Asia, specially the Greater China region. Rani’s approach is always based on a win-win strategy for investors worldwide in conjunction with local people and companies in each region. Rani is aware that, in Africa, creating job opportunities, enhancing efficiency and building wealth for locals are highly sought-after outcomes and important elements in defining a ‘win’.
Rani Jarkas said, “We look forward to establishing trusted partnerships with local governments and companies in Africa. As direct investors ourselves and advisors to tier-one investors around the globe, we also look forward to exploring a wide range of investment opportunities in Africa, particularly those in our areas of expertise, which include technology, natural resources, energy and clean technology.”
Rani Jarkas is an effective and reliable executive with abilities of overcoming complex business challenges and making high-stakes decisions using experience-backed judgment, strong work ethic and irreproachable integrity with over 20 years of financial service industry experience. “In my opinion, going to a bulge bracket firm is just not the ideal and most effective option for everyone. When you read the story below, you might find the answer,” said Rani Jarkas.
A famous engineer was called to look at a malfunctioning piece of manufacturing machinery. One fourth of a city block in size and completely encased in a shell of concrete, repair of the machine would require breaking through the barrier wall – a correct diagnosis was imperative before work could begin. The engineer set his price for coming to look at the machine at $100,000. The owner of the plant thought that a very high price, but the machinery was vital to his operation and this man was reputedly the very best available, so he agreed to the terms. Having arrived, the engineer walked slowly around the encasement, listening carefully to the workings of the machine inside. At long last, still listening carefully, he took a red Sharpie out of his pocket and drew a small X on the wall. “Tell your mechanic that this is where the problem is”, he said to the plant owner. “What is this?” screamed the owner, “I paid you $100,000 for you to draw an X on the wall?” “No”, said the engineer. “You paid me $100,000 for knowing where to draw it”.
Rules are presumably put in place to protect the investor, but as always, it is the unintended consequences that are the ones that you need to watch out for.
When uncontrollable events take place that cause specific market sectors to fall, whether caused by market failures, acts of God or some other intervention, a well-intentioned money manager has to have the liberty to move assets to those areas that are on the way up, or at least get out of the way of the ones that are falling. Many people lost their pensions and other savings and investments during the 2008 crash due to restrictions to do just this.
One safe haven that was not open to many money managers in the last financial crisis was the option of moving to cash. The stigma of moving assets to cash is based on urban myth, propagated by institutions that have insisted that investors entrust their money to those who were going to actually invest it – any lay person could hold cash! But this is faulty logic. Investors are entrusting their savings to experts who know where to draw the X on the wall. Investors want money managers who know when cash is king and when and what to buy and sell.
Knowledgeable investors have been frustrated by limited alternatives available in the market and passive investors are unaware of the conundrum that exists.
Investors today are looking for independence. They want to employ money managers who have the freedom to make investment choices that are focused on long-term growth and the preservation of wealth, regardless of geographic boundaries, industry segments or asset type. Investors are looking for fund managers who use a variety of research sources to gain their information – without solely relying on a centralized internal research department that provides all company fund managers with the same information, commonly resulting in collective buying and selling and potentially impacting price and performance execution. Investors are also concerned about the bottom line – how the fund actually performs in terms of real gains or losses, not how it performs against a benchmark. Beating a benchmark by 5% is great, unless of course the index was down 50% itself. And finally, over-dependence on fundamental analysis and portfolio size could mean a delay in decision-making to avoid or cut losses or holding on to falling assets for fear of missing out on the chance of a return rally. Investors want money managers who are focused on protecting and growing capital – managers who know precisely where to mark that X on the wall.
Some say that globalization has ‘shrunk’ the world. From Rani’s perspective, the world is still a pretty big and diverse place and there are opportunities everywhere – even when the mainstream media depicts a direr story. From this viewpoint, it made good sense to develop efficient products with built-in resilience to economic environments and market conditions without limitations to specific sectors or geographical focus.
The rise of the independent boutique firm is testament to these ideas – knowing where to draw the X on the wall — by developing and using creative products based on solid constructs, exploring markets and opportunities all around the world and appropriate discretionary investing suitable to an investor’s risk/return tolerance.
As not only a trusted resource and clean-tech industry expert but also a well-regarded figure in financing industry, Rani Jarkas sees a genuine bright spot: Clean technologies are booming although the world is facing numerous energy problems – much of the world’s population has too little energy to meet basic human needs; the monetary costs of energy are rising nearly everywhere; the environmental impacts of energy supply are growing and already dominant contributors to local, regional, and global environmental problems; and the sociopolitical risks of energy supply are growing too.
Rani Jarkas believes commercializing clean technologies is a profitable enterprise and the next engine of economic growth. He expects many leading companies of the future to come from this industry as invention and innovation combine to solve the world’s increasing demand for energy and, in particular, clean power and green energy. Under his direct leadership, his firm has become a well-known boutique investment firm in action.
“To really get into the fundamentals of clean technology investments, it is important to look beyond the politicized issues and focus on the finances.” says Rani Jarkas. The fact that advancing the use of clean technologies will be good for the environment is not debatable and when it makes our current systems more efficient and cost effective, we all win.
The heat around cleantech has been stoking and an intense race to win industry leadership is well underway in the private and public sectors. The aim of funding renewable energy and energy efficiency projects is to enhance energy security, support clean and efficient energy sources and to increase private sector involvement in clean technology investments and financings. For example, China’s current five-year economic plan is well concentrated on clean energy, with a $640 billion renewable energy commitment. The plan calls for an increase in the overall percentage of power developed from renewable, especially solar and wind power. The end goal is to raise environmental standards with the understanding that if economic growth is to be sustained, a reduced dependency on fossil fuels needs to be achieved and maintained.
Despite the clamor of the global clean energy and cleantech race, many sovereign nations are struggling under increased debt and therefore available resources to support R&D are diminishing. However, partnerships with other institutions such as universities are becoming more common, picking up this slack and the industry has continued its exponential growth. Clean Edge Research has reported that combined 2010 global revenue for solar photovoltaic, wind power, and biofuels surged 30.2 percent over the prior year growing from $144.5 billion to $188.1 billion. A separate report by Analytica Advisors, the 2011 Canadian Clean Technology Industry Report, states, “global market demand for clean technology is estimated to grow to $3 trillion by 2020 based on 11% CAGR. The industry projected to rise to be the third largest global industrial sector by 2020 after electronics manufacturing and automotive”.
It looks like this macro-industry is one to keep a serious eye on as it covers so many facets of energy generation, consumption and storage.
The opportunities and uncertainties will make the coming decade a critical period for clean technology. Much like the Internet revolution, there will be winners and losers, and more than a little carnage among companies and entrepreneurs competing for a slice of the clean-tech pie. However, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that clean technology will engender a more sustainable and highly profitable era — for business, the planet, and all of its residents.