This story appears in the June/July 2022 issue of Forbes Magazine. Subscribe
When Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent most emerging-markets funds plummeting, Perth Tolle’s Freedom Index Fund avoided most of the carnage—because economies run by despots will never be on her buy list
Most important lessons aren’t learned in the classroom. In 2003, the year after Houston money manager Perth Tolle graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio with a degree in finance, she spent a year in Hong Kong living with her father, reconnecting with her Chinese roots. On a visit to Shanghai, Tolle befriended a woman named Maggie. Both were 23 years old, but her new friend’s dark backstory shocked Tolle. While Tolle had enjoyed a suburban upbringing in Plano, Texas, Maggie lived in the shadows. She had no birth certificate, no school or hospital records and no safety net. To the Chinese government, Maggie didn’t exist. She was one of tens of millions of kids victimized by the Communist Party’s one-child law, in effect from 1980 through 2015. Because her parents already had a son, they concealed her upbringing.
“That policy changed the culture of my generation, and the effects of the demographic disaster in China are irreversible,” says Tolle, 42, who was born in Beijing but came to the U.S. at age 9. “I had this realization that freedom made a difference in my life and in the markets.”