Salter Brothers Emerging Companies’ investment portfolio is managed by a highly experienced and skilled team with diverse expertise in financial markets and across a broad range of industry sectors, including emerging companies. Here’s some more about them and their approach to investing…
Chairman Investment Committee
Robert has more than 20 years’ experience in investment markets, having held roles at Merrill Lynch, UBS, and Macquarie. He has also worked internationally, predominantly in Switzerland.
Robert has always been interested in investing, making his first investment in the stock market when aged in his early 20s.
He describes his main role as interrogating the investment team’s decision-making before investments are made.
“In a micro-cap portfolio, the buying is always the most important as it can be very hard to efficiently exit a position if you’re wrong – the selling should look after itself if your view proves correct,” he says.
Robert is both cheerleader and devil’s advocate, encouraging the investment team to increase weightings in stocks that are performing to expectations, or for positions that are underperforming, ensuring that the investment thesis is still valid. Robert also has a healthy risk appetite so he’s comfortable adding significant weight to a position when the investment team has a higher conviction.
The three factors that Robert looks for in a long-term investment are:
- A reasonable valuation;
- A growth pathway within an acceptable timeframe; and
- A management team that can execute.
Robert is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ). He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (University of Melbourne) and has completed the SDIA Accreditation Program RG146.
Issam has 26 years’ experience in investment markets, specialising in Australian equities, particularly small caps and emerging companies. He has held risk management, dealing, and portfolio management roles at Macquarie Bank, ING, Credit Suisse, and Sigma Funds Management.
Issam’s extensive management of emerging companies’ portfolios has provided him with experience across various businesses, strategies, and management teams. He has a deep understanding of the retail, non-residential infrastructure, A-REIT, housing, and commercial services sectors and the issues that affect them.
He enjoys the variety of companies in the small caps and emerging companies space and the hands-on approach that investing in this sector entails.
“Being exposed to a variety of business models within the small cap sector has helped me hone the art of identifying which businesses will be successful. It’s also provided me with investment discipline centered around valuation and a process for replicating the performance over a long period,” Issam says.
“Importantly, over my time as a portfolio manager in small caps since 2002, the funds I managed outperformed the benchmark, the Small Ordinaries Accumulation Index, adding value to our clients in both an absolute and relative sense.”
Issam started investing as soon as he left university and had a job to fund his investing. He was also a co-founder of Crescent Wealth, Australia’s first shariah compliant superannuation fund.
The three factors that Issam looks for in a long-term investment are:
- Strong, capable management;
- A credible investment thesis, whether it be a growth or value stock; and
- Valuation support – if you cannot buy a stock cheaply, then why own it at all?
Issam holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting, Economics and Finance) from the University of Technology, Sydney and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Rajeev De Silva
Rajeev has more than 25 years’ experience in equities across a variety of markets, including finance, healthcare, IT services, and early-stage technology. He has focused on small cap companies in Australia since 2006. Prior to joining Salter Brothers, Rajeev held various funds management and research roles at JP Morgan Australia, ING, Credit Suisse, and Sigma Funds Management.
Rajeev has been investing since he was 14 years old. Professionally, he started investing in 1997, managing a life insurance fund in Sri Lanka in fixed income and equities. Over the years, he has met hundreds of management teams and companies – both listed and unlisted – in a large cross-section of industries.
“Our approach to investing is that all team members need to buy into a decision. Technology now plays a key role across all sectors, so experience and understanding of this aspect contributes to the team cross the portfolio,” Rajeev says.
“I am a strong believer in valuation and that markets will be irrational. Sticking to understanding what a company is worth against what it is trading is an important skill I bring to the team.”
The three factors that Rajeev looks for in a long-term investment are:
- A business strategy that is easy to articulate and understand. If it can’t be explained on one page, it’s too hard for the market to appreciate or value;
- Depth and breadth in management. The culture of the business, starting at the leadership team, is a key success factor; and
- Understanding what a business is worth versus what the market is paying for it. Identifiable catalysts over two to three years are needed to consistently generate good returns.
Rajeev holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Monash University.
Previously, Jason was an analyst at Comprador (formerly Blackstone Advisory Partners Asia) in Hong Kong for over two years. He was part of a team providing merger and acquisition advice and strategic consulting to clients across the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to that role, Jason was an analyst at Merricks Capital in Melbourne, providing detailed bottom-up fundamental research and top-down macro analysis.
Jason has a diverse skill set from his work in corporate advisory in Hong Kong, his coverage of stocks across the Asia-Pacific region as a listed equity analyst, and his work at Salter Brothers across both the listed equities team and the PE/VC fund.
“Having that breadth of exposure to different type of investments means I’m more creative when generating ideas in the listed space,” Jason says.
“I predominately focus on technology and e-commerce and try to bring some expertise and specialisation when looking at companies in that sector. Also, with my role in the Salter Brothers PE/VC team, I am in a unique position to cross-leverage the expertise in that fund and help build out the unlisted investment exposure for the Emerging Companies Fund.”
Jason started investing when he was at university and stumbled upon some investing books. His first professional experience in funds management started when he was an intern at Merricks Capital.
The three factors that Jason looks for in a long-term investment are:
- Strong competitive positioning or competitive advantage;
- A large addressable and growing end-market; and
- Strong, positive management and culture.
Jason holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne.