You are the owner of an investment firm, Blue Mahoe Capital, that focuses primarily on the Caribbean market at this time. What steered you in the direction to dwell into an area that doesn’t seem to draw much interest?
I was born in Jamaica and having worked there, I saw the wealth of opportunity in the region. My advisor, billionaire Jamaican-Canadian investor Michael Lee-Chin, says that you should be excited to invest in a region or industry when three things are present: Perception is different from reality; inefficiencies are present and there is a lack of equity capital flowing in. The Caribbean is overlooked because of perception but being from there and working in finance allowed me to understand the reality of the investment opportunities that are present. Combine that with a love for Warren Buffett’s approach to investing and you would see the Caribbean as a value investor’s dream region, provided they understood the culture and knew the companies.
You need to establish a track record and then you can scale a business, especially an asset management. Investing in Jamaica was the perfect way to test my investment strategy, begin building a strong track record and then scale into other markets. Michael Lee-Chin built something amazing in Canada and I intend to do the same across the USA and Caribbean with his guidance.
You are investing in the entertainment industry. How did that come about and what will you be doing?
My brother Robert and I launched Realvibez, a Caribbean music video platform in 2002, eventually becoming Youtube’s first Caribbean media partner in 2008. Music is one of the largest exports from Jamaica but more investment is needed to professionalize the industry. Blue Mahoe Capital is willing to both buy and build companies in strong long-term growth industries.
We did not see a suitable company to buy and so we are building a portfolio company that brings more of the earnings back to the region while adding a more professional approach to the business of entertainment just like how Hip-Hop, Reggaeton, and K-pop went through transitions. Sometimes we buy companies and sometimes we build them. We have some great partners to make it a reality one of our portfolio companies and expect Carole Beckford, former Film Commissioner for Jamaica to build an amazing subsidiary.
What is it about Blue Mahoe Capital that will make it a company to watch? What will you be doing in the future that will elevate it more in the investment field?
Money has traditionally been a taboo subject in the houses of people below a certain social class and we intend to normalize the discussion about wealth creation as well as contribute to improved financial literacy, especially amongst people who look like me. However, we will be doing it with the most recognizable people of our era, musicians and athletes. We should not discount their power and definitely should not tell them to shut up and dribble or just make music.
What happens when you combine music, sports, and financial literacy with a focus on wealth creation and helping a historically disenfranchised group? What happens when an asset manager acquires stakes in public companies and pushes for better diversity policies and racial justice? Impact investing by a black person will look very different from impact investing by the usual asset managers.
How would you advise those who have an interest in becoming vested in the investment game? What would you suggest one do to make a powerful impact?
Michael Lee-Chin told me to find a role model, get the recipe, and do not change the recipe. You can only change the recipe when you exceed the role model. I highly recommend people read about investing, gain knowledge and then pick a role model, learn their strategy and religiously implement it. It becomes your framework that allows you to control your emotions. Michael would add that you also need access to capital and investment opportunities so that means increasing your earning power, rebalancing your expenses, and opening a brokerage account right now. It has never been easier to start investing. Start with $10 if you have to but do it consistently and build healthy financial habits.
If you want to make a powerful impact then you have to think bigger. You have to get a coach and you have to pick a big hairy audacious goal as Jim Collins says in his books ‘Good to Great’ and ‘Built to Last’ because thinking small only leads to small impact. Thinking big leads to a big impact. Ask yourself what it would take to achieve the biggest goal you can think of and then work backward, step by step and begin connecting those dots going forward. Focus on building an amazing legacy that leaves positivity in the lives of as many people as you can reach.
What is one misconception that many have when it comes to being involved in your field?
The single biggest misconception is that you already have to be wealthy to get into investment management. You do not need to already have financial wealth or to look like you have financial wealth; You need a thirst for knowledge, a passion for investing, and an uncompromising desire to make your investors wealthy. You are not supposed to do this just for yourself. You are supposed to make your shareholders and investors wealthy and in turn, you will create wealth for yourself as well. Put them first and you will be quite fine. Serve them well and you will be rewarded.
David Mullings is on a Quest to Show Investors That Money Can Be Made in the Caribbean Market