June 29, 2022

Making International Deals With Ladislas Maurice

Making International Deals With Ladislas Maurice

Hi, I’m Ladislas Maurice

If you’re reading this, the odds are that you are also intrigued about investing outside your home country—preferably somewhere with higher growth potential or yields. You might also wish to safeguard and grow your wealth in these uncertain times.

You see how a lot of governments have unhealthy balance sheets and debt levels, and you would like to diversify internationally to not have all your eggs in a single basket. Regardless of what your neighbours, friends and family think, it’s a very sensible thing to do—and you’ve come to the right place.

I made a lot of the “right moves”: I obtained a business degree in Canada before getting a Master of International Business and Law at the University of Sydney. During the Great Recession, I was lucky enough to make it through all the interview rounds at the Nestlé headquarters in Switzerland. This was the beginning of a 7-year corporate journey which led me to the executive board of Nestlé Ghana in charge of running a $90 million dairy business across 4 West African countries.

Age 30, after a fantastic experience, great learnings and profitable side investments—I cashed out & wandered off. I wanted to deepen my investing skills. Since then, I’ve been traveling the world and making deals and investments in various markets on a small scale, personal level.

My method is that I never rush. I go somewhere, and stay there for a few weeks or months. I build a network, do thorough research and due diligence, and make my moves. By acting this way, I can mitigate the risk of investing in higher growth and yielding markets. Such an approach is also what I use to investigate various asset classes.

People constantly ask me how I do things and how they can get started. I’ve made some fantastic investments over the years, as well as some (expensive) mistakes. My blog is about sharing some thoughts and tips along my journey

Maurice is a Business and Law School graduate in Canada and Australia, a former executive board member of Nestle in Ghana, and is now a full-time investor with a focus on emerging and frontier markets. Today Maurice speaks to us about international deals and investing outside of your home country!

Transcript


 Josh
 Hey, good day fellow. Deal-makers welcome to the deal scout on today's show. We're going to have a conversation about international real estate deals about the frontier and emerging markets and all sorts of cool stuff straight out of Switzerland right now on the phone with lettuce loss. Is that your name? Did I say right? 


 Maurice
 Yeah. Correct, 


 Josh
 For, so my brain doesn't completely Hotwire in fry. We're going to call him Maurice on the show. That's what most people call it. Is that right? 


 Maurice
 Correct. Yeah. 


 Josh
 All right. Thanks for coming on the show, man. Who are you and what do you do? 


 Maurice
 Yeah, so a little bit of background. Essentially I run a blog and blog that's been growing very fast that focuses on international real estate, specifically in emerging and frontier markets, as well as helping people obtain second residency's typically, and also emerging markets, but with low taxes. Just as a bit of background, usual background went to college in Canada, studied business, went to grad school in Australia law school there. I got a job, like most people out of university. I got a job for Nestle, the big food company in Switzerland, and then they sent me to Africa for seven years. I lived in South Africa for a few years and then in Ghana, in west Africa. My last role there was being in charge of the, I was on the executive board of Nestle Ghana, running the milk business for a few west African countries. I spent most of my twenties in Africa actually. 


 Maurice
 When I turned 30, I thought, cool. I did this, that was that one phase of my life. Now I want to go traveling for and then I'll just go get another job in Dubai or something. And so I quit. I went on a road trip with some family members. We drove from Oman in the middle east. It's close to Dubai all the way to Paris. So by car. Went through all of Iran, Armenia, Georgia Turkey, all of Eastern Europe, and then found our way and then made our way to Paris. For the first time, in a very long time, I had time for myself. I had time to think, cause when you're in the rat race, you're working 60, 70 hours a week. There's always that presentation you're working on. There are these targets, et cetera. You don't have time to think about not only your life in general, but also mostly about your own personal finances and traveling through all these countries. 


 Maurice
 I just saw so many opportunities. I would arrive in a city and I would go see real estate agents. I'd go see lawyers like look at the property market. It'd be like, wow, like prime real estate is this cheap in this capital city. This doesn't quite make sense. They'd see that they're like a few catalysts from an economic point of view. Along the way, I started doing some deals and I kept pushing back my return to work because, I do flips like in Montenegro, for example, I'd be buying an apartment, like renovating it and I'd be flipping. It would work well. I find another apartment that I'd be doing two apartments at the same time. I just kept pushing that timeline back. At some point my friends were just asking me, cause I'd post on Facebook when it was still a thing. And yeah. My friends were like, Hey, let us, your worries. 


 Maurice
 Your, we see you in like all these weird countries and it's been a few years now, but you don't seem to have a job. Like what do you do? I started this blog where I would just kind of document my research. It was part of my process. I was like, before entering a market, let me just put the thesis down and think about it, just write it down. Eventually I started a YouTube channel and all that's doing pretty well too. It's been quite a few years now that I'm doing this full-time so I'm now a full-time investor. 


 Josh
 Your name of your blog and your kind of your brand name. Why don't you share that? 


 Maurice
 The wandering investor, 


 Josh
 The wandering investor. There's a saying not all that wanders, not all who wanders are lost. 


 Maurice
 Right. 


 Josh
 Now while you're wandering. Right? Cause you're like, okay. I did Nestle. I did, corporate, not corporate America, but corporate living, and you were 60 hours a week hustling and bustling. You're like, okay, I'm going to exit this. I'm going to take some time. I'll go back to corporate, right? Like re redo it in that process. Did you feel lost? Like you quit, you didn't have anything were like, you didn't have a job lined up or anything like that. You just like, I'm done. 


 Maurice
 Yeah, it was a bit much it's hard to leave a good job and good career, but man, you live only once, at the end of the day, if I don't go traveling, when I'm in my twenties and thirties, like, what am I going to do it when I'm like 60? I have like physical issues, you know? I just went for it and I was pretty confident I could get another job. Now I don't think I'm employable anymore. Anyone that looks at my resume and dude called the wandering investor that hasn't had a job in like five years. I'm just not employable anymore. So that ship has sailed. Now I need to make it work. 


 Josh
 The ship has sailed and you burnt the ships, right? You're like, I'm wandering investor. We need to take on when you take on a brand name like that. Yeah. You become unemployable pretty quick. Right? When that happened, what friends and family were like, okay, what's, what's the plan? Right? Law school. You've done all this stuff. You've built the resume. You've climbed the corporate ladder to the top. What about health insurance? What about this and that? What kind of questions were people throwing at you and how, what was going on in your mind? 


 Maurice
 Like most of my family apart my, from my parents just didn't even ask any questions. The reality is that most people are not interested in what you do. If what you do is so far out of their reality. I'd come back from or I'd just go visit them and they'd be like, oh, we're where are you? I was like, oh, it was for two months in Ukraine before the war, they wouldn't even ask me, oh, how was it? Like nothing. They'd just be like, oh, your cousin did this. That most people are just not interested in what you do. Like that's just the reality of it. 


 Josh
 Yeah. It does not. Compute does not. They're like, all right, let's not even talk about it. Cause they don't understand. You're traveling around and you start finding these pockets of emerging markets or good deals that you could get involved in. You started blogging about it and sharing that. Now what inspired you to blog and share the story and the journey of it. 


 Maurice
 I like to write and it's part of my process. It it's easy to have a thesis in your mind, right? Yeah. Until you put it in writing in front of other people, that's the real test when people, come back to you and say your thesis blows, ? It forces you to really think thesis through. That's really got me to do this. 


 Josh
 Yeah. I'll tell you. I have, I have tons of ideas, right? I'm a visionary guy and I built some companies and I've had a lot of at-bats and I've had some successes, but a lot more failures. Right. In the process of, when I first got my start, I would have an idea and I would go into my room and I'd build it out. As I got more experienced in venture capital and building companies, I learned that as soon as I have an idea, get it on paper, share it with the world as fast, as quickly possible and see what kind of feedback. I'd even put a price tag on it and I'd try to sell it before it even development happened. There's something real that happens when people start reading it and they say, that's a terrible idea. You go, like, but I'd rather do that early on than later on. 


 Josh
 You built this as a part of your process, Hey, these are the ideas. This is what I'm working out. What did you hear back from the community as you were doing this? 


 Maurice
 A bit of everything. Mostly positive, because what I do is actually unique. No one else does this. Like someone who travels full time going into emerging and frontier markets and I'm talking like places like Serbia, Montenegro, Columbia, Kenya was Becca, Stan. Like those are Turkey. Like those are the types of places I do business. There's absolutely no one who's going there, like writing about these topics just on the ground, because these countries are typically very data poor. Even if you Google, there isn't much information because there's just very little data. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Now it might be just the way the screen is, but you look tall. Are you, how tall are you? Do you stand out like a green thumb when you're walking through like Africa or like Saudi Arabia, kind of give us an idea of what is that like traveling and maybe describe for people who are just listening, what that, what that looks like. If you're walking through a town in Kenya, 


 Maurice
 I mean, everyone looks at you can just get used to it. You know, let's, you know, 


 Josh
 Who's that guy. Right. And what is he doing here? People come up to you and they ask you a bunch of like, Hey, what are you? What are you doing here? What do you do? And yeah, 


 Maurice
 Yeah. Or not like, or sometimes people are just not interested. People have their own lives, often tough in these markets, ? So they're not there. They might be curious, but they might also not be interested. I mean, life is hard. I go into these countries, people earn $150 a month. They, they struggle to pay the rent. They struggle to feed themselves and their families. Some tall white guy walking by, it's like, okay, like, so what, like I've got to, put food on the table tonight. So there's a bit of everything. 


 Josh
 Yeah. You know, 


 Maurice
 What you don't want is the attention of cops though. Cause in these countries, cops, when they get interested in your case, that's not good. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Then it costs some money. Right. It just seems, I've interviewed quite a few people, but it seems like you have a, a, a strong sense of empathy, but you're also, you're also an attorney, right. You also went to law school and your deal guy, like understand, let us peer into inside your brain when you're looking at a new area, what are you thinking about? Cause it sounds like you're thinking about the people, the areas that this and that give us a pure, what goes on in your brain. 


 Maurice
 Also in my head, there's a map of the world, always with all its moving parts and a whole bunch of macro variables. I look at trends and I try to see cool. How can I play these trends? That ultimately I'm more of a macro guy. For example, if we're looking at, if we're heading into a food and energy crisis, right. If that's going to happen, then I would probably want to invest in countries that are energy independent and food independent. Right. My mind would go potentially at this point in time to places like Paraguay or Brazil, then I would kind of dig more and see cool. What other macro trends are either tailwinds or headwinds. So, I look at Brazil, natural resources, fantastic. A lot of issues on the ground, but that's nothing new presidential elections coming up with potential new socialists coming to power, not so good. 


 Maurice
 What are the prices of assets? How are they historically? How did they compare to neighbors, to their peers, what's access to credit, like et cetera. If I feel that there's like an interesting picture, then I'll just fly there and stay there for, a month, two months, three months on the ground. I'll try to see, to confirm whether it's a good play or not. And then how do I play it? Right? Because sometimes there are different ways to play a macro theme in a certain country. I'll give you an example, two and a half years ago, I went to Uzbekistan. So it was Becca. Stan is a country between Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Kurdistan. Right in the stands right there in central Asia and the country had been under some brutal dictatorship since forever, essentially like after the Soviet union, just the local communist guide just stayed in power and just was just brutal. 


 Maurice
 He died in, I think 2017 or so, and a new guy came over. Everyone thought he'd be this crazy dictator as well. He started opening up the country completely and pushing through massive reforms and removing capital controls, welcoming foreign investment, et cetera. The population is young, educated, booming there's good infrastructure. The country, because it was self-sufficient has a lot of local industry, a lot of agriculture, a lot of copper, gold, uranium, et cetera. Gas and it's right at the center of Eurasia, which is, if you're the opinion that the economic power is gradually shifting from the north Atlantic to more to the east, then a country that is at the center of what used to the silk road is probably interesting, especially when it's got all these other tailwinds. So I was like, cool. I should probably go buy an apartment there in Tashkent, the capital city. 


 Maurice
 I took a plane and I got there. I looked at real estate. It was a very decent deal. Trying to structure a purchase was a bit of a gray zone. Foreigners are not allowed to, but if you create a company can, but you can't rent it out, but no one really checks if you do so or not. So a bit of a gray zone. I looked at the local stock market. It was Becca. Stan has a stock market and these companies were cheap. Companies with P ratios of like three w with dividend yields of 20% that were growing 40% a year. And I was like, oh yeah, exactly. It's very illiquid. Like cement companies, the local commodities exchange, local banks, some local like class manufacturer, just like all these like very random businesses and, but very illiquid and all the information is either in Russian or Uzbek. 


 Maurice
 I went to see your broker there sat down with the guy, he explained the stuff to me. I had to look at the numbers and I was like, gosh, this is like, this is ridiculous. The government had only recently removed all capital controls. You could buy stocks and Rebecca Stan, and then sell them and repatriate the money. Because before those returns you could buy stocks, you could sell them. Your money was stuck in his Becca sand and you can get the money out. So I was like, wow. I went to Pakistan, hoping to buy an apartment. I came back with a brokerage account. 


 Josh
 Did that allow you to own real estate? Then. 


 Maurice
 I didn't buy real estate. I just bought a whole bunch of local companies on the stock exchange. I did a, a three X in like bit over two years. In what was ultimately very safe because those businesses were sound. 


 Josh
 Were you like exploring, like taking over the companies, like buying the majority? Like, like Ilan just did with Twitter. Were you looking at that kind of stuff or just becoming, an investor in these? 


 Maurice
 Yeah. I discussed with some VC guys that are based out of Switzerland, but honestly I didn't quite feel like committing five years of my life to turning around a, a, a vegetable oil factory in Western Pakistan. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Yeah. Now as you're traveling, right. Do you have home base? Do you have a place where you call home where you have like a couch or like a desk and such like that? 


 Maurice
 It's going to be a little sad when I'm going to say it, but yeah, it's Ukraine and I had to go. Because of the whole situation I had to leave. Now I'm just, I'm traveling a lot. 


 Josh
 No kidding. All right. You had a home in Ukraine, but because of what's on in the world at the retirement of this recording May 9th, 20, 22. You had to pack up and go, but you've been already doing this already been on the road for the past five years. So this is nothing new to, you. 


 Maurice
 Know, 


 Josh
 You had a headstart now, a lot of people got displaced and they did not have experience in travel or setting up companies or investing. Like, do you find that you're being a resource for people who are being displaced? 


 Maurice
 I mean, I took con of a bunch of people in some of my apartments and houses that were empty. Yeah. Wow. Temporarily. I mean, whatever, they, they moved on, it was just for a few weeks. 


 Josh
 Yeah. All right. As you're traveling, you look macroeconomics, right? You're looking at the big picture. You've got this inside your brain. You see this revolving globe. Oh, by the way, is the globe flat or is it a globe? Not just kidding. We need to talk about flat earth. I have no frigging clue. I have no clue. Nothing. Nothing is surreal. 


 Maurice
 You should go on b***h, shoot and watch those videos. That's a good entertainment. 


 Josh
 Okay. Send me one of those links after it, after this, you could go down the rabbit hole of watching YouTube. And I just started watching. I listen, I have no skin in the game. I don't care. I just want to know both sides of the coin. I want a fun argument to be had, but it's hilarious. Cause I just have no clue. I'm ignorant of most things in this world, other than me and my small little family and my couple businesses that I run. All right, so you got this picture of a world in your head and you see whether it's flat around it doesn't matter. You see political stuff, you see cost of goods and you see these moving pieces. It gives you a grand picture of the world. You just find a place of interest and you say, okay, I'm going to commit three months there. 


 Josh
 I'm going to land there and look for other real estate technologies or companies or whatever to get involved with. You share that through your blog and your YouTube. Did I get that right? 


 Maurice
 Correct. 


 Josh
 Now what fears do you have? Right. So, for me, I've got, traveling to a new area. I'm thinking like safety. I'm thinking like, is my money gonna be protected? Is everybody gonna play rules? Am I going to get kidnapped? Is, is my money safe? If I buy something, could they just like, I have a buddy who bought a, an island and then he ran into some issues and they had to like remove it from him. It's like crazy stuff that could happen internationally. I think fear for me in uncertainty keeps me out of other markets, especially emerging or things that are up in like, how do you approach that? I would love to learn from you. 


 Maurice
 Okay. I mean, I've even done deals in African countries a few years after a civil war. At the end of the day, it's generally safe to invest in most places in the world from a property rights point of view. If you hire a good lawyer, do not cheat bout when it comes to lawyers. I go to a new country, especially emerging or frontier market, and I am trying to structure a deal, I won't go to one of the best law firms and I will pay. I'll probably overpay. People will tell me, oh like, oh, I have a lawyer. He's cheaper. There's always a cheaper lawyer. When you're first doing business in a country, you are vulnerable and you need to accept this and you need to take measures. Those measures include taking one of the best lawyers in town. 


 Josh
 How do you find the best lawyers? Okay. You and I were going on a trip together. We're going to be like, all right, let's check out Ghana or wherever. Let's just say you haven't been there before. We're like, first thing, we need to meet an attorney. This is going to be a fun game. Tell us the stack of people we need to meet. Right. Attorney being one of them. How do we find the best ones in town? How do you approach that? 


 Maurice
 The first thing is to, for the attorneys, generally, actually the best lists are going through embassy websites. You go through the embassy website of the U S Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, et cetera, of like tier eight countries. They often, but not always, but often at least one of them will have a list of local law firms. And they're typically the best. You get in touch with a few of those and you go meet two or three of them, talk to them, get a feel for them and then pick one of them. 


 Josh
 Okay. So we've got attorneys. Yeah. Who else do we want to meet? Like when we're going into a new area, do you do any pre intelligence of like setting up some relationships prior or do we do? 


 Maurice
 Yeah. If I know people I'll get in touch with them and I'll say, Hey, can you introduce me to XYZ? I also like just going in there kind of raw without people knowing me. Cause that then you get really a feel for who they are. If they, if they know more about you initially than you do about them, it can be, it can play against you. So go in there, speak to people. I, I go approach a few real estate agencies or literally just knock at the door, just go meet the team. I would go see a few brokers as well to say, Hey, I'm a foreigner. I'm looking to invest. Let's say a small sum. If you start seeing some that are too big, then people can want to screw you over. Scale it up if you're actually, if you actually wanted to invest more. 


 Maurice
 Don't go in there acting like, the big swinging di trying to show everyone how important you are, because that's just how you're going to attract scams and issues for yourself. So go in there and be humble. Downplay who you are and how much you have and take it from there. 


 Josh
 All right. What's a good number to throw. That's humble. Not the big swinging D as you would say, what's a good number as you're starting, to say, Hey, I'm looking to invest XML. 


 Maurice
 Like for example, if you're looking to buy real estate, you say you want to buy a one bedroom apartment. 


 Josh
 So you're not throwing out financial number. You're throwing out like looking for a one bedroom apartment. 


 Maurice
 Yeah. If you go for shares with a broker, you want to make sure one that you get a broker that is on the actual website of the stock exchange. You go to the local stock exchange. Typically they'll have a list of all the brokers. You choose a few of those. You go see them. You won't have any issues. Typically when you say you'll have like, whatever, like 10, 20, $30,000, to invest, you want to buy a few shares. If you want to buy more, you can do that. So just don't be extravagant. 


 Josh
 Got it. Extravagant puts a target on your back for Scamps and for danger. What kind of in your five years of travel, what have you seen the hard way in terms of international investing or travel? 


 Maurice
 Most of my issues were before I became a full-time investor, because I just didn't have enough time to do proper research. I made investments that were with hindsight suboptimal. I would buy real estate that, honestly, I should not have bought, but if I had actually been there for two months, doing my due diligence, I would not have made those mistakes. Each time my mistakes were because I just didn't have enough time to do my proper research. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Yeah. Out of all the places you traveled, what place is your favorite? What place is your least favorite? Where you're like, oh, I'll never go back to that FM place. 


 Maurice
 So favorite. Regarding, so not talking about investments or anything just from a pure travel lifestyle. Favorite actually sell South Africa is amazing. From a lifestyle point of view, I would not invest a cent there, but from a lifestyle point of view, it's gorgeous, amazing weather, national parks, good infrastructure, amazing food, et cetera. I also love Montenegro in the Balkans or south of Croatia, beautiful little country of 600,000 people actually for Americans, it's very easy to obtain residency there. It's one of the easiest ways to get to the live in Europe. It's in Montenegro. You can, I've been helping a lot of people get residency. There. There's some beautiful real estate. The, the sea there, it's on the menu, it's on the Adriatic sea. Just stunning, beautiful national parks, in winter you can be skiing and then an hour and a half later, you're in a shirt, drinking it to Colleen coffee, just, in front of a stone house and like super yachts it's and the coffee is a dollar 10, ? 


 Maurice
 So that's that. I really like, I spent pretty much every summer, there it country, the country. I like the least I'd say countries that were very nice before, but that just went downhill. I can think of, for example, Germany, Canada, Australia, just, they were great countries, but the social dynamics between people and between people in government have just reached levels where just not pleasant anymore, you don't really feel free anymore. Those are places I just tend to not really go back to. 


 Josh
 Yeah. I hear that you talk about a residency citizenship, right? Being an international traveler, the wandering investor, right? You're going into these places and then people reach out like, me, or maybe people who have sold a company and they've got some money coming in and they're going, Hey, let's have some fun, let's go someplace or lower tax burdens or whatever. What reasons? Like, what are some of the main reasons people would reach out to you and go, Hey, I'm exploring living outside of the U S for example. 


 Maurice
 For a few reasons, one, for example, a lot of Americans want to, or Canadians or Australians want to diversify. They have, they made a bunch of money in the U S and at the end of the day, for example, like the U S is one of the best countries in the world to make money was, the, the capital markets are just so thick and liquid, and just, there's so much money flowing around much more than in Europe. At some point, people are just like, I want to diversify. I don't want to have all of my eggs in this one basket. I would like to have real estate in other countries. The question people reach out to me and it's like, which countries, ? We discuss the risk profile of the person. What they're really looking for. It a pure investment or is it lifestyle then? 


 Maurice
 What lifestyle are they looking for? Do they want a plan B as well? Cause sometimes if you buy real estate, you can get residency out of it. If you needed to leave for whatever reason, you have your plan B for yourself and your family in some markets in Turkey. For example, if you invest $400,000 of real estate in Turkey, you get citizenship for you and your family. You buy a few apartments and Turkey is vast. I mean, there's Istanbul city of 15 million people. That's been, it's been one of the core historical cities. It's assemble has always been there. The crossroads of history, always, and the coast on the Mediterranean coast, et cetera, you can buy real estate anywhere, $400,000, nine months later, your spouse and your underage children, I'll get a Turkish passport. That then goes down the generations. It's you not only get cheap real estate, you get generally very nice real estate in a beautiful location, in a history, rich country, which is very different, a very different vibe to the U S where everything's newer, et cetera. 


 Maurice
 Go away for two, three weeks, you really feel that you're somewhere very different. You're making a generational move for not just your children, but your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren et cetera. They're all going to be Turkish. 


 Josh
 Now I'm American. I live in the U S and even better. I live in Florida, right. Like right now we have the, I love Florida right now. It is amazing. What's that? 


 Maurice
 Oh. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. I've lived my daughter's nine and we lived the nine different homes. We've lived in Florida, a lot of it, but then we've moved to like Dallas, New York, Orlando, ? We've moved around a bunch, but Florida by far has been my favorite place to live. Shout out saw my friends and other places. But I love Florida. If you can't tell, as you're traveling around and you're looking at places in your wandering investor world, do you think you'll ever go home flag? This is where I'll always be. 


 Maurice
 I don't know. Maybe. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 Maurice
 I don't know. Like, honestly, I don't know. I don't think so. Cause I've just been traveling so much. My, my whole life I've been close to a hundred countries and I lived in, I think, 12 or 13 countries. So I I've been around a lot. Just staying in one place and saying, I'm going to be married to this place. Is it sounds very foreign to me. 


 Josh
 Yeah. That's so cool. How many languages do you speak. 


 Maurice
 Or. 


 Josh
 For which ones are those. 


 Maurice
 French? English. German. Russian. 


 Josh
 No kid in super cool. Has, has any government agencies tried to scoop you up based on or are you working? Well, you probably couldn't tell me if you're working in nature. Yeah. Josh I'm with the CIA. Yeah. Sorry about that. 


 Maurice
 Question. And I'm all over YouTube. 


 Josh
 Hey, that's a great cover. It's a superstar. No, but like, as you're traveling and you're working with these groups, you've got, you went to law school, you've got an incredible history in corporate America. You're building some stuff like, how do you're winning? How do you're on the right path? What metrics do you measure to see if you might be off in your life plan? 


 Maurice
 My metric is the level of freedom I have. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 Maurice
 It's not even necessarily that financial, like money is just a means to freedom. That's it is for me. Cause I'll make investments that are a little odd sometimes, but I'm not doing it for the financial rewards. I'm doing it because I get some paperwork that gives me more freedom or access to certain things. Sometimes I'll just outright pay for a residency permit, pay $10,000 to get permanent residency in a country for the rest of my life, in a continent far away. It's I get pleasure out of this. Is it a good investment? I don't know. Maybe it won't be, maybe it will. It's but I feel a lot more free because when I need to move, when I need to travel, when I need to go places, I can do it. During the whole situation with the disease, I was still traveling full time. 


 Josh
 Wow. 


 Maurice
 People, people couldn't leave. Their countries. People were blocked, et cetera. During this whole period, I was still traveling full-time I was still moving from continent to continent, et cetera. Because of all these options I have, it never stopped me. 


 Josh
 All right. This is going to be a question based on your experience with Nestle, your favorite chocolate bar at Nestle. 


 Maurice
 It's a, it's a French one in so mass market it's called crunch. Do you have it in the. 


 Josh
 U S we have the Nestle crunch. 


 Maurice
 Okay. Crunch. The Nestle has a, a, the equivalent of lint in Switzerland. It's called ke it's like lint, but even better. I don't know if you ever come to Switzerland, get yourself some like chocolate. 


 Josh
 Kia. All right. Maybe. Hey, next time. You're there. Just know package one up for me. I love Butterfingers. Those are my, those are my favorite Nestle, but this show isn't about chocolate, but you just have my mind in my mouth water for some chocolate. If you could go back, right. You're about to pull the plug at the, at Nestle. Right? You've worked your way up. You were on the, all sorts of cool meetings. I'm sure. And, and you get to have a conversation yourself now and yourself then, do you think you guys would get along by the way? What advice might you give your younger self there? 


 Maurice
 I just say do it. I mean, I remember why did I make that decision? I hope my former bosses isn't watching this. 


 Josh
 Shout out, but it wasn't, 


 Maurice
 It wasn't, it was just, it wasn't that guy. It was just like, yeah. The guys, like most of them, they were very unhappy. They were working really hard because when you're at a certain level, you look the level up. You're like, that's what I'm supposed to spot. So cool. I'm on the country board. My next, what I'm supposed to aspire for is like regional board. I looked at the regional board guys and they're like seven years older than me. They're all balding, they're married and they hate their wives. Somehow they're not even doing that well financially, because they ended up with Golddiggers like, is that what I'm supposed to aspire to? You know? Yeah, like, no, I just say, do it, just do it. 


 Josh
 Would you get along with your corporate self? 


 Maurice
 I think I was a bit of a d****e, but after a few beers, I'm pretty sure we did a lot. 


 Josh
 Sorry. Once the, once the d****e cover has been dropped, I get it that, I look back at my younger self and I was so arrogant. Ego driven and sometimes that's, what's, that's what it takes to build a company, but that's not a way to sustain any healthy life or relationship or lifestyle. If I could look back at my former self, I'd be like, don't be an idiot. Not I'd probably hit my younger self, but like that's from the future b***h, ? I don't know. Wow. Well, we just went on a little rabbit trail there and Mr. Maurice, so as you're working with these groups, how do you make money? Right. You're give us, give us a few of your income streams. You don't have to tell us numbers if you don't want to, or you can I either. 


 Maurice
 From my own, I've got all my own personal investments or mental flipping stocks, private placements, venture capital invest in like very random businesses. I invested in a chain of chicken stores and Gambia in west Africa. So it's like, it's really all over. Yeah. With regards to my business, a few things. One, I offer consulting two, I make money off some referrals. People get in touch with like one of the real estate agents, I recommend I get a percentage of their commission. It doesn't make it more expensive for people to contact them. I just get a little, just referral fee from the agent, but what the, what people get out of it is, cause when you go somewhere, probably 70% of agents just talk s**t of real estate agents, they're just complete nonsense. 20% are like are right. And one will be good. You go through my website, you pretty much have a guarantee that the person will be either all right. 


 Maurice
 Or good. The seven out of 10 have been taken out, filtered out. Yeah. Yeah. And it's free. Yeah, that's one way I make money. 


 Josh
 Out of all your income sources right now, let's just say a flying astroid hits your income sources and you could only choose one, but it goes down to zero, but that's the only one you're allowed to invest in for the rest of your life. Which wa which channel would you choose? I know that you looked terrified when I asked you that question. 


 Maurice
 Because I can't answer. Cause the, the, what I do is like true diversification. I am invested across asset classes, across jurisdictions, all over the world. I'll put it this way at any given point. One of my investments is blowing up at any given point because when you're that diversified, there's always something going wrong somewhere, but I'm always sleeping very well at night because I know that the rest is doing fine. Or is it, or is a natural hedge to what's blowing up. 


 Josh
 Yeah. What I find is there, some people might look at you and say, man, that is super risky. What you're doing is probably the least risky thing you could do in terms of diversification, not only in asset classes, in geographic, in all sorts of stuff. You're actually hedging your risk better than most. 


 Maurice
 I mean, I'll give you an example. I messed up two months ago. I, when Russia started making a move on Ukraine, I didn't think it would be that big of a movement. I bought a bunch of Russian stocks and now I'm stuck with them. I can't even sell them. 


 Josh
 From the world, 


 Maurice
 Jay. Yeah. 


 Josh
 Russia, I'll say cool. 


 Maurice
 Yeah. I like, I clearly made a mistake, but all my oil positions and agricultural positions just like just shut up. I ended up that week, being in the positive, even though I took a massive write off on my Russian stocks. 


 Josh
 Yeah. That was some people might call that a failure. That was a great lesson learned. Right. Is it. 


 Maurice
 A bit of a failure to a bit of a failure. 


 Josh
 Before you pulled the trigger on that deal, like you're looking at it and you're like, oh man. Like I think that, Russian stocks, this or that or whatever, like, did you have a gut instinct? Like maybe I shouldn't do this. And you're like, nah, let's do it. 


 Maurice
 I guess. 


 Josh
 You went against your gut. 


 Maurice
 I don't know. I don't know. I dunno. It was just, the numbers were just too good. And like, these companies were so cheap. They were just so cheap and gushing cash. They still are. They still really crushing companies are gushing cash right now. It's just, I'm not getting it. 


 Josh
 You're just coming off from it. You're just seeing it happen. You just don't get to get any of it. Yeah. The holy moly as a deal maker, right. You make, you're making tons of deals and you're traveling all over. You're going to make mistakes. My biggest mistakes are either. I didn't listen to my wife when I asked her like, Hey, what do you think about this? Or I just didn't tell her. Right. I didn't include my, my life business partner or I didn't trust my gut. Those are been the two biggest, like, thanks from now on. If it doesn't clear the wife, it does. Doesn't clear the gut. The answer is no. How do you make sure that you are staying in, in your own guide rails, what are some things that you look for? I don't mean to get too personal so you can some of the personal stuff from it, but when it comes to deals, 


 Maurice
 That's it. That's a very good question. I just, I just try to be really hard with myself. I just try to be very hard and I try to look back at all the mistakes I made because I made money. Each time before I get involved in something, I'm like, okay, those really are all the risks. Am I comfortable with these risks? Because in many cases, in some of these countries look sure you buy an apartment. You know, you use a good lawyer. You'll you'll have a good title deed and all good. Sometimes you do like venture capital in countries like this. It's like, if things take a bad turn, am I gonna go chase the chicken store owner in Gambia, through Gambian courts? Yeah, no way. So, so really the decision is am I comfortable investing with that person? Because ultimately the contract doesn't actually mean anything. 


 Maurice
 The contract is just for clarity between the two parties, but it's not like it's going to be enforced at any given point. Just being truly aware of the risks that you're taking, because it's easy to go in there. Oh, like the contracts as well. If you like, doesn't pay, I get this, I get that. It's like, no, that's not the risk. Like the risk is the accounting is going to be a mess. Like, it's just like, you have no control. You can't, you actually can't do anything about anything. You're entirely dependent on that guy. And are you comfortable with this? Like, ultimately that's what you're doing. You're just giving money to that dude who will then maybe give your money back or not, ? Yeah. 


 Josh
 Yeah. All right. You and I are sitting across from the table. We're having coffee, Turkish coffee. Right. Awesome. I love that idea. Let's do that by the way. We're sitting here and having a coffee and someone comes up and they're asking us for money and they sit across from us and we're talking. What are some questions that you ask to sniff out b******t. Right? They're asking us for 50 grand or a hundred grand or something like what are, what are some things you're looking for? 


 Maurice
 I'll just drill down on the business plan. Yeah. Like give me the numbers. The guy doesn't have the numbers. They don't make sense. He's just bullshitting. Yeah. Cause again, like in a lot of these markets, the education levels are slightly lower. You meet less with kids in terms of numbers. It's not like you're meeting some like Harvard MBA. That'll just like put all these numbers in front of your face and you'll lose. You won't even really understand. And he'll play you that way. But it all makes sense. Then you get played in those markets. It's it's more bit more simple. It's a bit easier to sniff people out. I'd say, 


 Josh
 Okay, what question? What's one of your favorite questions to ask that maybe aren't, that isn't tied to a business model, the financials or the company? Like what are some questions that you like a question you asked deal-makers to kind of gauge. 


 Maurice
 For example, I'll give you a very local example in Africa, before I get involved with people, I'll try to meet their priest or their mom or their pastor, 


 Josh
 Hey, let's go out for a coffee, bring your priests. How do you make that happen? You really just like that. And if they ask why. 


 Maurice
 They understand why, so I'm trying to get to know them and their community. 


 Josh
 Yeah. And if they say no, 


 Maurice
 Cause there's no, everyone knows the courts don't mean it. You got to source trust somewhere, and these are anchors of society. 


 Josh
 We go into new area, we're going to meet a priest, an attorney. This sounds like a joke, man. Like we're we got a priest, an attorney. So, and so walk into a bar, but that's how that's what you got to gauge out to see. 


 Maurice
 It depends. Yeah. In some circumstances, that's what you need to do to speak to the kids. 


 Josh
 It's brilliant. It's, it's super cool because here's the thing. I'm an American I'm ignorant. I, even though I traveled some places in the world, I'm ignorant. Like I'm honest. If I went to a place, I would call you up out of bed. Like, Hey man, could you beat me in wherever I'm going? Because I have no clue. I'd rather go with someone who's been there a hundred times and who knows the lay of the land? Do you do that? Do you do like private business tours where I want to go by company or something like that? Or me and my group or whatever? No. Why not? 


 Maurice
 I mean, I met, cause this blog I'm doing is part-time really my main focus and my main income is my own money. So I can't. Honestly there isn't that much money in showing businesses to people in these markets, because it's like the fee, which is not typically going to be that interesting. It's a lot of work to find good businesses in these countries. 


 Josh
 A lot of work, man, we look at it a lot. It's a lot of work to find something good. Yeah. 


 Maurice
 Yeah. The accounting, the auditing is very poor. Cause you can bribe. Auditor's easily. 


 Josh
 Frickin fricking accountants, you guys the numbers. Right? What's a big goal that you have for your life? How, how old are you? Are you allowed to say that? 


 Maurice
 Yeah. 


 Josh
 35, 35, right? 35 year old dude. What's a big goal. Big life goal that you're like, man, if I hit this, I'm going to buy a new shirt. 


 Maurice
 I don't think I've even asked myself this question to be honest. I mean, I just want my E children to, to grow and be healthy and free. I just want to maximize freedom. That's that's all I really want. I just want to be free. 


 Josh
 So freedom super important to you. Like we had a little blip in the internet here, like I said, what is the big thing? You said the, my big thing is freedom for me, my family, 


 Maurice
 Freedom for me and my family in a world in which freedom is under attack everywhere. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Do, this is going to be a question offline. Dang it. I wish I'm going for it. All right. When you, when you look in these areas, that freedom is being attacked, right? Are you looking for like, do you automatically just start moving your investments away from that? Or do you look at how do you, how do you measure whether to keep my money into a place or yank it out? 


 Maurice
 Look, the personal freedoms can be under attack somewhere, but it can still be a good investment. 


 Josh
 Can you keep them separate? Huh? 


 Maurice
 Yeah. Like ideally you live in a country where you don't really have assets. That's true. Freedom. If you start having issues with the government, you're gone, you're just gone. It's, it becomes like expensive and complicated to try to seize assets in different jurisdictions. That's true. Freedom is where you live. You actually don't really have anything. That's true freedom. 


 Josh
 But that does that. Doesn't play into our ego and our pride, like the big house, the cars, the boats, right? My name up on that wall. 


 Maurice
 No, you go play somewhere else. 


 Josh
 You're your true idea of success and freedom is being able to live in a place where if your freedom starts to get stepped on, you're like peace I'm out and you can move within a day. Right. It's gone. 


 Maurice
 I mean, yeah. I'm a bit more time, but yeah, like essentially I can just go. 


 Josh
 Yeah. When you travel, how many bags do you typically, like what's the, what are some ways to really. 


 Maurice
 Carry on? 


 Josh
 You're going to be somewhere for three months and you just do a carry on. 


 Maurice
 Yeah, 


 Josh
 I do an overnight trip. Well, I've got, 


 Maurice
 You'll see a lot of the same shirts on my YouTube videos. 


 Josh
 Awesome man. Awesome. Super cool. What is, so give us a few tips on traveling as a, the wandering, investor. I work with a lot of wandering entrepreneurs and what do they call them? Digital nomads. Right? I've got a buddy right now in Costa Rica. He goes to a place. He buys a motorcycle, a surf board and a tent, but that's is awesome. Yeah. He loves it. 


 Maurice
 I say don't plan too much. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 Maurice
 If you're planning too much, it means just kind of reading what's online and reading what books say and recommendations. TripAdvisor says rather, just go with the flow. Yeah. You'll really follow your, when you really want to do. 


 Josh
 That's super cool. Super cool. What's a place that you haven't gone to that you want to go to. 


 Maurice
 Argentina. 


 Josh
 That'd be cool. Yeah. We mentioned coffee. Right? Turkish coffee. We could have some like, what is your favorite? Like, I would say ethnic, but nothing's ethnic to you. Cause you go everywhere. Right. What's place like what's your favorite food or drink or something when you travel. You're like, I gotta stop here. See this guy here, gal and I get this drink or food. 


 Maurice
 You're going to like this answer. 


 Josh
 Oh God. I hope so. Let's do it. 


 Maurice
 McDonald's. 


 Josh
 Oh, that's a tear. Really? 


 Maurice
 Yeah. Because like when you're always traveling, sometimes you're just happy to have that one anchor, you know that it doesn't change. Like a big Mac is a big Mac, everyone everywhere in the world. Sometimes the first like three days of being, or first day of being in like a new country, you took a long haul flight, your immune system, like you're a bit tired, et cetera. You don't want to go straight to eating like spicy tacos or whatever. You just happy to just have a burger like back home. 


 Josh
 Really? You know, burgers are not the same. You can't get a big Mac india or something like that. Like it's going to be that like. 


 Maurice
 Most places, 


 Josh
 Most places. Okay. So McDonald's you travel? You're like, all right, we've got to go to a McDonald's. 


 Maurice
 Yeah. Like when I'm in Africa, I go to like KFC a lot. They don't really have McDonald's apart from a few countries, but there's like KFC everywhere. 


 Josh
 I am so shocked by your answer. But I get it. I understand. I, so if I ever come to visit with you and we're traveling around, that's what I can expect. You're like, all right, got this fancy restaurant. The Mickey D's right. That's awesome. Well, if you come to Florida, I'll take you out to a steak house or something. Well, I'm not taking you to McDonald's. I refused so awesome. Maurice, what question during this interview, should I asked you? We'll go through how people could connect with you and all that other stuff later, but business or personal or whatever. What question should I have asked you that you'd like to talk about here on this interview? That I didn't ask that. 


 Maurice
 Like, I, I think that like, people shouldn't really ask themselves, are they feeling comfortable having all of their assets in the United States? So, cause there are a lot of people out there that say, oh, the dollar is going to be finished and it's going to crash. All these like dooms, the people like that's not the mentality at all. The thing is you don't want to have all your eggs in one basket. You just want to think carefully about this. When you have everything in the U S you're very dependent on what your federal government, in terms of local policies and international policies, et cetera, and the fed. Having a portion of your assets outside of the jurisdiction of the United States is probably a safe move. Actually, it's actually very safe. I'm not necessarily promising bigger returns than you would by using a whole bunch of leverage and buying like condos in the Midwest or something. 


 Maurice
 When you have is true diversification, you can, it's possible to buy market real estate in markets where interest rates don't actually have an impact on real estate. We're real estate is actually a real asset because in the us people like to think, oh, real estate, I can touch it. It's a real asset. I mean, if interest rates go to 10%, watch what happens to that? That last. It's real estate has become in a lot of Western countries. It's the same in Western Europe. It's become a part real asset for sure, but also part financial asset. You can go to markets like Columbia, where you can get rental yields of 10% and where interest rates changes don't impact the housing market because interest rates are already high and it's like, cash returns, you put boom, the money, you have a nice apartment. You can go spend some time there yourself. 


 Maurice
 It can get you even a residency in Columbia. If you want to plan to you there and you make decent returns. There are a lot of countries in Europe also that can get you residency. 


 Josh
 That's super cool. Let's get to this point where we go. If someone wants to connect, follow your blog, join your email list. Maybe even do an international deal with you. What's a good place for people to connect you, follow you and go for it. 


 Maurice
 Sure. Thank you, Josh. The best way is to go onto the wandering investor.com. So that's my website. You'll see. There's a bunch of articles on international real estate on residencies, et cetera. And there's a mailing list. It's called the private list. It's entirely free. Just put your email, your name and then you'll get updates. As I travel around the world, looking at investment and immigration opportunities, and I'm also on YouTube, but the bulk of my analysis is really just the mailing list. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Now super cool. Do you, man, how do you deal? Gosh, I've got so many questions about this. We might have to do another one. How do you do with when you're filling out like tax reporting and structures and it's like your own LLC family off, like how do you set up your thing that this last question I'll ask you. 


 Maurice
 It's, there's no straight answer to this. Everything, every deal is different. Every deal is different. 


 Josh
 Got so many questions. We'll just have to do another one, Mr. Maurice, or let us loss, which is super cool name by the way I like it. And I said it correctly, 


 Maurice
 Correct? Yes, 


 Josh
 I did it. I'm just, my name is super boring, Josh, but Maurice, thanks for coming on the show today, fellow deal-makers as always reach out to our guests and say, thanks for being on the show, tell them you heard them on the deal scout. If you're looking at international travel international, deal-making investing in emerging markets, foreign markets as always, follow what our guests are doing. The goal of this show mission of the show is put deals and deal makers together. If you're interested investing outside of home, take a look at what the wandering investor is doing. Maybe get some tips and tricks and have a chat with them. If you're working on a deal and want to talk about it here on the show, head on over to the deal. Scout.com. Fill out a quick form, get you on the show next until then talk to you all on the next episode. 


 Josh
 See you guys. 

Ladislas Maurice Profile Photo

Ladislas Maurice

Hi, I’m Ladislas Maurice
If you’re reading this, the odds are that you are also intrigued about investing outside your home country—preferably somewhere with higher growth potential or yields. You might also wish to safeguard and grow your wealth in these uncertain times.

You see how a lot of governments have unhealthy balance sheets and debt levels, and you would like to diversify internationally to not have all your eggs in a single basket. Regardless of what your neighbours, friends and family think, it’s a very sensible thing to do—and you’ve come to the right place.

I made a lot of the “right moves”: I obtained a business degree in Canada before getting a Master of International Business and Law at the University of Sydney. During the Great Recession, I was lucky enough to make it through all the interview rounds at the Nestlé headquarters in Switzerland. This was the beginning of a 7-year corporate journey which led me to the executive board of Nestlé Ghana in charge of running a $90 million dairy business across 4 West African countries.

Age 30, after a fantastic experience, great learnings and profitable side investments—I cashed out & wandered off. I wanted to deepen my investing skills. Since then, I’ve been traveling the world and making deals and investments in various markets on a small scale, personal level.

My method is that I never rush. I go somewhere, and stay there for a few weeks or months. I build a network, do thorough research and due diligence, and make my moves. By acting this way, I can mitigate the risk of investing in higher growth and yielding markets. Such an approach is also what I use to investigate various asset classes.

People constantly ask me how I do things and how they can get started. I’ve made some fantastic investments over the years, as well as some (expensive) mistakes. My blog is about sharing some thoughts and tips along my journey.

- Business and Law School in Canada and Australia
- Former executive board member of Nestle in Ghana
- Now full time investor with a focus on emerging and frontier markets
- Frontier market stocks markets and emerging market real estate
- Traveled to almost 100 countries