Boutique portfolio manager to retire

A Sydney small caps boutique has appointed a new co-portfolio manager, as its founder and chief investment officer announces his retirement plans.

Frank Villante will retire from Celeste Funds Management in November 2021.

As a result, Celeste is promoting senior analyst Martin Byers, who joined the firm two years ago after a decade at UBS where he specialised in emerging companies.

Byres will manage Celeste's small companies strategy alongside Paul Biddle who has been with the company since 2005.

Morningstar has retained an analyst rating of bronze but said it will closely monitor Byres' progression of over the next 24 months.

The analyst noted the long notice period, the capability of Biddle and Byres but also Byres' limited portfolio management experience.

In October last year, Celeste bought back a stake in the business previously owned by Pacific Current Group, taking the firm's equity to a 90% ownership by the investment team.

In August this year, it signed an exclusive retail distribution agreement with Zurich Investments.

The Celeste Funds Management's fund had outperformed the benchmark S&P/ASX Small Ords Accumulation Index by 6.1% net of fees since inception more than 21 years ago to July this year.

Read more: Celeste Funds ManagementFrank VillanteMartin ByresPaul Biddle
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