In the July issue of The Bahamas Investor magazine, Mark G. Holowesko’s childhood friend Myles Pritchard, a Merrill Lynch international adviser based in Los Angeles, described him as the most competitive person he has ever met, but also as extremely ethical. When asked what motivates him and how he is able to keep his competitive edge while at the same time maintaining high ethical standards, Holowesko credits his parents and his education.
“Holy Cross has a mission of service and when you leave Holy Cross you are expected to be a good citizen,” he says. “Hopefully I’m taking that attitude of service from Holy Cross and applying it to my daily life.”
Since 2000, Holowesko has been chief executive officer and president of Templeton Capital Advisors Ltd., based in Nassau, The Bahamas. He joined Templeton Global Advisors in 1985 when he was 25 years old. Two years later, Holowesko took over the day-to-day management of the portfolios previously managed by Sir John Templeton.
Recognizing his talent and drive, Templeton took the young money manager under his wing and entrusted him to serve as director, president and head of investments of Templeton Global Advisors from 1992 to 2000. During that time, Holowesko served as portfolio manager of the publicly held Templeton Growth Fund, Templeton World Fund, and Templeton Foreign Fund.
In 2000, Holowesko bought 80 percent of Templeton Global Advisors and switched from managing global mutual funds to overseeing private hedge funds. Today he manages hedge funds for an exclusive group of about two dozen institutional and high net worth investors.
Sir John Templeton, a pioneer in international investing, was a major influence on his young rising star. In 1992, at the age of 31, Holowesko was the youngest person on Fortune magazine’s list of the best money managers of his generation.
“Sir John was my first great business role model,” Holowesko says. “His genius is in his ability to take complex issues and simplify them. He is also a deeply religious man. We started every meeting in his office with a prayer.”
While Holowesko thrives in the competitive world of international hedge fund investment, he is also an avid cyclist and sailor. A champion rower at Holy Cross, he was a member of the 1996 Bahamian Olympic sailing team at the Summer Games in Atlanta.
Growing up in The Bahamas, Holowesko was naturally attracted to the water—and began sailing when he was just six years old. He looks upon sailboat racing as “a moving chess match and a very intellectual sport.”
Holowesko also founded the Bahamas-based VMG Racing cycling team in 2005. The goal of the organization is to develop world-class competitors, as well as solid citizens, by maintaining the highest ethical standards of sportsmanship.
Holowesko’s three-time participation in the CEO Ironman Challenge in Lake Placid, N.Y., has also earned him a mention in BusinessWeek as one of the “World’s Fittest CEOs.”
Who was your biggest influence at Holy Cross?
There were so many people who influenced me—that is what makes Holy Cross such a special place. Two of my biggest influences were Tom Sullivan ’70, who was my crew coach, and Fr. John Brooks (Holy Cross president emeritus and member of the Class of 1949). He set such a great tone on campus.
Why did you choose to attend Holy Cross?
I wanted to go to a Catholic college that had a strong liberal arts program and was on the East Coast. And my sisters, Diane ’78 and Susan ’79, had gone to the College.
Can you describe what it was like to compete in the Olympics?
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be in the Olympics. It was an amazing experience, and going to the Olympics was the ultimate, but I had more fun qualifying than I did competing.
Can you describe the place that Holy Cross holds in your heart now?
Holy Cross holds a special place in my life because of the values it taught me. That’s part of the Jesuit tradition, and I’m very respectful of that.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I love to cook, and I make good bread. When my wife and I got out of college, we had no money for Christmas gifts, so we made bread to give to everyone as gifts.
- Birthplace: Washington, D.C., March 12, 1960. His parents, who were Bahamians, attended Catholic University. They returned to the Bahamas three months after Holowesko was born.
- Current home: Lyford Cay, New Providence Island, The Bahamas
- Family: Wife, Nancy (Schoeb) ’84. Children, Lauren, 21; Peter, 19; Meaghan, 17; and Patrick, 13
- Profession: Chief executive officer and president of Templeton Capital Advisors, Inc.