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Thursday, May 12, 2016

A First Eagle Vet Spreads His Entrepreneurial Wings

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A First Eagle veteran is spreading his entrepreneurial wings.

Abhay Deshpande
Centerstone Investors LLC
Founder, Chief Investment Officer
Abhay Deshpande confirms the launch of New York City-based Centerstone Investors and the debut of its first two mutual funds, the Centerstone Investors Fund and the Centerstone International Fund. Deshpande serves as founder and chief investment officer of the new shop.

Deshpande spent 15 years at First Eagle before departing at the beginning of 2015. Since then, he has been pursuing his "longstanding dream" to own his own business. To that end, he's built out a team that includes marketing, operations, and sales executives, and he's teamed up with State Street and Gemini to power the funds.

His leadership team at Centerstone includes: Courtney Blum, managing director, national accounts; Rob Cassata, managing partner, business development; Rafael Fernandez, managing director, trading; Mike Furlong, managing partner, business development; Ashwin Paranandi, managing partner, business development; Orli Peltz, managing director, marketing; and Philip Santopadre, managing partner, operations and compliance. Deshpande himself serves as chief investment officer.

Deshpande says he has a "fully-staffed office."

"I'm slowly adding more analysts," Deshpande tells MFWire. "I don't need an army of analysts."

Deshpande is the majority-owner of the new firm. He refused to turn to a third-party backer, he says, because he wants "everything to be long-term in nature."

"We want quality, not quantity," Deshpande says. "We're fully capitalized for as long as it takes."

"All of the employees have a path to ownership of the business," he adds. Eventually, he estimates, "roughly a quarter of the business will be owned by the employees."

Deshpande credits his wife with coming up with the Centerstone name. One of the first names he considered was "Bedrock Capital Management." His wife warned him that "that's where the Flintsones live." The "Centerstone" name, he says, is "meant to convey a strong foundation and long-term balance," precisely what the funds are meant to offer. Deshpande and his team want their strategies to be your rock.

"We're trying to secure equity-like returns over market cycles, with less risk," Deshpande says.

Deshpande is an alumnus of the University of Louiville. He worked at Harris Associates, Morningstar, and Conservative Asset Management before joining First Eagle in 2000. 

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