The day has been long for Justin M. Leverenz, who runs America's largest emerging markets mutual fund at Oppenheimer Funds.
He has been up since 4 a.m., poring over annual reports, racing through traffic to make company meetings and finally, in the soft air of an Istanbul evening, a bit of book browsing and pickle tasting in this city's old European quarter.
Now, a glass of excellent Turkish red wine in hand, comes the day's most challenging task: persuading a small group of hyper-secular Istanbul elites that the country will thrive under its polarizing Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"My rich Turkish friends don't agree with me about this," Mr. Leverenz said as he soaked up the old world splendor at the bar of the Pera Palace Hotel, a favorite watering hole for these very same elites. "But I really think Erdogan and the AKP party are going to win election after election."
That is a bullish signal for Mr. Leverenz, who is looking to increase his $41 billion fund's stake in Turkey.
After a brief panic earlier this year, many money managers have been putting cash back to work in such unpredictable markets, lured by cheap stocks and strong measures taken by local policy makers. But few are committing significant funds to Turkey, spooked by the autocratic tendencies of Mr. Erdogan and the economy's dependence on volatile investment flows.
Mr. Leverenz, however, is convinced that his biggest investment successes — from Internet stocks in China and Russia, to housing finance companies in India — have sprung from his ability to ignore the passing wisdoms of the market. So he is buying Turkish stocks, convinced over the long term that Mr. Erdogan's radical reform ambitions will transform Turkey.
It is part of Mr. Leverenz's broader credo that emerging nations like China, Brazil, Russia and especially India after the victory of Hindu party leader Narendra Modi — are experiencing economic and social change that won't be reversed.
"I truly believe that these countries are in a period of significant progress," said Mr. Leverenz. "It will be dynamic, chaotic even, but the developed world really needs to watch its back."
Such sweeping optimism — or cheerleading as some would have it — has been a central tenet of the decade-long boom in emerging markets. Assets of emerging market equity funds in the United States exploded to $388 billion now, from $89 billion in 2008, according to Thomson Reuters.