WHILE MONEY HAS BEEN FLOWING OUT OF emerging markets such as India, Quintin E. Primo III, CEO of Capri Capital Partners L.L.C. (No. 9 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with $3.54 billion in assets under management), is taking a contrarian stance and sticking his proverbial toe in the water.
To that end, Capri Global Capital Ltd., the company's international real estate investment affiliate, has aligned with Money Matters Financial Services Ltd., a publicly listed India-based commercial lending institution that lends to real estate owners and small industrial and service companies. As part of the agreement, the India-based company has been renamed Capri Global Capital Ltd., and Primo serves as non-executive chairman of CGCL's board of directors. Capri Capital Partners was BLACK ENTERPRISE'S Financial Services Company of the Year in 2012.
Primo, who is perhaps the first African American to join the board of a publicly listed company in India, says the move is an indication that his firm is contemplating future investment there.
"My technical role is to preside over four board meetings a year and to assist them in executing their overall business strategy," says Primo. "They believe that Capri Capital Partners U.S. represents an ideal model for them. So we will help them move into the space in India over time in a joint venture."
But why India? The country is under severe economic stress. Its economy is slowing and its currency, despite recent gains, remains weak. With the U.S. economy showing signs of recovery, money is flowing out of many emerging markets and back into the U.S.
Primo asserts that "with research, caution, and a nearly surgical knife, we move into such markets to take advantage of market conditions."
As a country of 1.2 billion people, India has tremendous prospects for growth, Primo says. The largest democracy in the world, it has an ambitious, entrepreneurial population and abundant intellectual capital.
"It's a country that we think on a longer term basis will offer investors significant opportunity. So we're using our strategic alliance with CGCL to again get our toe in the water, to continue our research efforts, and together, with time, we will bring third-party investors into the market."
In time, Primo sees things turning...