Getting to know Global Equities Analyst, Mark Skurnik


Mark Skurnik

Global Equities Analyst
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Mark Skurnik is a Global Equities Analyst with significant international and local experience, responsible for the Asian region and the financials, energy and utilities sectors globally at Perpetual Investments. 

Mark joined Perpetual in January 2018. He previously spent 12 years at Fidelity International in Hong Kong, most recently as Portfolio Manager. Prior to this role, he was Director of Research and worked as an analyst across the financials, energy, steel and utilities sectors.

Mark is a CFA Charterholder and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University of New South Wales.

What was it that initially drew you to this type of work and what has kept you here?

My father first introduced me to stocks when I was 13 and bought me an Australian oil company, Santos. Using this stock my father took me through the basics of investing and taught me how to read annual reports, look up the stock price and the importance of reading the newspapers for stories on the company. I begun to realise that detailed research was essential to succeed. An inquisitive curiosity continued to grow within me and focus me towards my current career. Digging for hidden gems, stocks that are unloved and undervalued motivates me daily.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

I have been lucky enough to work with some great investors both in Australia and in Asia and over the years I have taken just a little bit from each of them into my approach. Anthony Bolton once said “know why you own a stock, know what’s discounted in the price and know yourself.” His unique  contrarian view of investing taught me how to think about unloved investment ideas and being meticulous with one’s notes.

What was your very first job?

I worked in retail, as a salesperson for a sports store during my high school holidays. I think sales is a great job for any young person to do as most of the time in our adult life we are having to sell as part of our jobs, either the product or service we are creating or ourselves to our bosses! One day we had a French couple come into the store and they didn’t speak a word of English. My boss knew that I was studying French at school and told me to go over and see if I could sell them a tennis racquet. They walked out with 2 brand new racquets and my boss invited me back every school holidays after.

What’s the best piece of advice that you have received?

When considering a new role at my previous firm my chief investment officer said to me,

“Don’t take the first opportunity that presents itself, just because it is there. Know what you want and wait for the right opportunity.”

Do you have a hidden talent/skill?

During my time living in Asia I spent a lot of time on planes. My ability to be able to sleep just about anywhere came in handy during that time and also a help on long haul flights from Australia.

What is something that not everyone will know about you?

I am a carry-over-champ on Wheel of Fortune. My grandmother loved game shows and I used to spend many afternoons watching Wheel of Fortune with her. She once told me that her dream would be to see me on the show. I decided to surprise her and appeared on the show during the height of its popularity. I still have the Brother overlocker sewing machine as evidence of my win!

Which stock excites you the most at the moment?

Melco Resorts is currently Rank 1. The company is an Asian regional casino operator with their main business the casinos they operate in Macau, namely City of Dreams and Studio City. The Macau gaming market is exposed to positive structural tailwinds of rising incomes in China combined with improving accessibility into Macau and as a result there is a meaningful shift occurring from low margin VIP customers towards higher margin mass and premium mass customers. The market in Macau is constrained by supply, however, Melco has recently launched its new hotel offering Morpheus which is receiving very favourable reviews, and it has plans for refurbishment of two of its existing hotels at the City of Dreams complex combined with Stage 2 development of the Studio City casino. Macro conditions are subdued currently and as a result VIP gaming revenues are negative but I believe this will turn with improving economic conditions in China once the trade war is resolved and at the same time the improved infrastructure into Macau will be complete allowing for greater visitation. I believe the stock is cheap trading at nearly 1 standard deviation below relative to its LT history at 9x EV/EBITDA.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for the next 12 months?

Navigating the investment world while central banks use unconventional monetary policy remains the biggest challenge for us. There are many unintended consequences occurring as a result of these policies, including keeping poorly run and inefficient companies alive when they should be exiting their markets, combined with a one-way bet of momentum and growth outperforming value. Hopefully we see change soon that will let our quality and value strategies shine.

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This analysis has been prepared by Perpetual Investment Management Limited (PIML) ABN 18 000 866 535, AFSL 234426.It is general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider, with a financial adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information.

The information is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation and is provided in good faith. This document may contain information contributed by third parties. PIML and PSL do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information contributed by a third party. Any views expressed in this document are opinions of the author at the time of writing and do not constitute a recommendation to act. 

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