The American who took Mongolia by storm




The profile of James Passin, an American equity-fund investor who really strikes when the iron is hot – that is, the resource boom that drives Mongolia’s economic growth to an unprecedented double-digit percentage today. His full article is available on Bloomberg Businessweek.


Passin, 41, has at least $130 million in three funds that he oversees for his employer, Firebird Management, a Manhattan firm that specializes in emerging markets. Passin controls four companies listed on the Mongolian Stock Exchange—in coal, fluorite, and real estate—as well as an undisclosed number of private enterprises. His placements make Firebird one of Mongolia’s largest and most diversified foreign private equity funds.

Until a few months ago, many other international investors shared Passin’s enthusiasm for the Mongolian market. The country, with a 17.3 percent growth rate in 2011, had the fastest-growing economy in the world. A sparsely populated nation of 3.2 million run by communists until 1990, Mongolia has discovered a bounty of natural resources. Lying on an ancient seabed, where sedimentary basins cooked carbon for millennia, the country has about 130 billion tons of coal. Iron, copper, uranium, silver, fluorite, and many other minerals are also in abundance. The estimated value of it all runs into the trillions of dollars.

How to lose $34.5 billion in one year

eike batista


It can be seen that no other person in history has ever matched Eike Batista in times of ‘losing the most money in one year’. Once regarded as Brazil’s richest person, and the world’s 8th, Eike gets himself lost in his personal realm of excessive self-confidence.

What has he done so much that he could easily let all the money plunge into null and void in such short time and become the public shame of the whole nation? Here are some of the ‘tips’:

1. Be absolutely proud in one’s own ambition and goals, no matter how irrelevantly questionable they are as attested to reality.

2. Grill business loans as though they were more scrumptious than any signature dishes a Michelin-star chef can prepare.

3. Boast that you are going to be the world’s richest person while your company, entrenched in debts, is yielding nothing.

4. Poke with risks – even if you have little or no craftsmanship in handling the consequences.

5. Accept no bad news and ‘shoot the messenger’.

6. Don’t stop believing… in superstitions.

7. Media, please!!

Read the full report in Bloomberg Businessweek.




Rare is the person—at least until recently—who meets Batista and is not seduced by his supreme self-confidence. As Daniel Lamarre, CEO of Cirque de Soleil, said when announcing a partnership with Batista’s IMX entertainment venture in 2012: “He is alone in his league.”

Batista has always been the leading chronicler of his own legend. He has long liked to tell the story of how as a teenager in Germany, he dreamed of becoming wealthy on gold, and how those dreams came true. At one point, a clairvoyant advised him to go to Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca site in Peru, and gaze at the sky at a certain hour, saying it would bring him luck. “Seems that it worked,” he told Brazilian TV host Jô Soares in May 2011. It’s all part of a mystical streak he embraced, and peddled. His company names all end in X—EBX, OGX, MMX. In his numerology, X stands for the multiplication of wealth.