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  • Emerging Markets

Faces of Change

A Grassroots Approach to Investing in Emerging Consumer Growth

Portfolio Manager—Global Growth and Thematic
March 01, 2014

Around the world, emerging-market growth is transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of people and changing the way they spend their money. For investors, this represents a huge opportunity. But how can a portfolio capture the enormous growth potential represented in the stories of ordinary people in so many different countries and cultures?

To answer this question, we believe that real people in emerging markets must be put at the center of the investment research process. We call this grassroots research, and over the last two years it has taken us to Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Inner Mongolia in China.

During these field trips, we talked to people in their homes about their hopes, dreams and aspirations, in order to glean vital information about the trends that will redefine consumer markets.

The insights we gained demolished many myths about emerging-market consumers and helped us to understand the real risks associated with investing in this sector.

This paper presents some of our findings and explains how the grassroots approach complements traditional investment research methods to help illuminate diverse opportunities with powerful return potential.

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