Celeste Funds Management (Celeste) is a specialist Australian equities investment firm, committed to the delivery of outperformance over the medium term for its clients. Celeste can trace its origins back to 1997, having always been involved in the active management of listed Australian equities. The five-man Celeste investment and operations team has over 85 years of finance sector involvement. In September 2016, Celeste Funds Management restructured its equity base. Full time employees in Celeste Funds Management now own a non-dilutable 66.6% of the business. The Australian Stock Exchange listed Pacific Current owns 27.5%..
Celeste’s investment style is process driven, incorporates both growth and value considerations, and is generally regarded as style neutral. As part of the Advance Australian Smaller Companies Multi-Blend Fund, Celeste is an active manager of a high conviction small companies portfolio. The portfolio generates alpha by investing in undervalued stocks with clearly identified catalysts that will drive outperformance above the S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries Accumulation index. The Celeste portfolio generally takes 30 to 40 significant stock positions.
While Celeste’s the main focus area is stocks in the S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries index, its expertise also generates enhanced returns over a rolling three year period by investing in selected stocks outside that index. The strong performance record of the portfolio highlights the robust nature of the investment team and the disciplined investment process.
Frank Villante, Chief Investment Officer
Frank started his career in 1981 with National Australia Bank in the Economics, Retail and Corporate Banking areas. From 1984 to 1988 he had roles as an Analyst/ Research Manager with Bridges, Son & Shepherd, and then with Clark & Co (Citicorp Scrimegour Vickers) as an Analyst and Institutional Equities Dealer. In 1988 he joined the NRMA initially as an Analyst, and ultimately moving into a Portfolio Management role. Frank moved to Bankers Trust in 1995 as a Portfolio Manager where he had responsibility for large and small-cap portfolios until 2001. In 2002 Frank undertook certain consulting roles for both listed and unlisted companies, and was involved in 2 projects for ASIC. Frank joined Celeste Funds Management in January 2004 as Chief Investment Officer
Callum Sinclair, BBus, CA, Investment Analyst
Callum started his career at ING Australia in 2007 working part time as a financial accountant during university before starting as an audit analyst at Deloitte in 2011. He joined the wealth division of NAB as a senior finance analyst in 2013 before returning to Deloitte in early 2014 as a senior analyst in the corporate finance team. He was involved in the analysis and due diligence for transactions, IPOs and government advisory work. Callum joined Celeste Funds Management in November 2014.
Paul Biddle, Investment Analyst
Paul started his career as an analyst in 1992 with Lend Lease Project Finance. In 1994 he joined Ord Minnett Securities (now JP Morgan) analysing a broad array of sectors of the Australian industrial market. In 2000 he joined BT Funds Management and was involved in analysis of both US and Australian equities. In 2002 he joined Merrill Lynch Investment Managers as a fund manager with responsibilities for analysis as well as input into the management of the firm’s Australian portfolios. Paul joined Celeste Funds Management in April 2005. His investment experience covers the industrial and financial sectors listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Celeste is an active bottom-up stock picker that focuses on the investment merits of individual stocks rather than market and economic trends. It considers a broad range of valuation methodologies in its investment process and places a strong emphasis on understanding the business models, management and accounts of the companies it invests in. We favour Celeste’s focused company research and the way it follows its investment process rather than market fashion or mood swings. We believe because Celeste avoids companies that appear to be evolving, in favour of quality companies currently running quality businesses, it actively minimises downside risks.