Investment specialists, Australia

Karen Caston - Senior Investment Specialist, Brisbane

Karen Caston

Karen is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; holds a Master of Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA), a Certificate of Project Consulting from RMIT, and a Bachelor of Applied Science – Mathematics, from Queensland University of Technology.

Karen has over 20 years’ consulting experience and significant expertise in corporate advisory and banking across multiple industries, including agriculture, tourism, telecommunications, information technology and services to the mining sector. Karen has a strong knowledge of the agribusiness trade and investment environment, key investment drivers and investment analysis techniques, and a track record in advising foreign investors on acquisitions in the agribusiness sector. She has connections at all levels of the agribusiness supply chain – production, processing, wholesale/retail and marketing.

Karen’s former roles include GM, Agricultural Management Company (AMC), involving extensive business development activity, and assisting foreign investor clients to identify and analyse investment opportunities in Australian agribusiness. Prior to that Karen was Manager Research and Consulting at Rural Management Partners (RMP), managing a wide variety of agribusiness consulting assignments in Australia and overseas, and analysing investment opportunities in varied agricultural sectors for private and institutional clients. She was also Senior Farmland and Investment Analyst at UBS Global Asset Management, analysing investment opportunities across several agricultural sectors for overseas investors.

David Grabau - Senior Investment Specialist, Melbourne

David Grabau

David Grabau has strong technical proficiency and experience in the Resources and Energy sectors, and brings to Austrade a valuable combination of experience in both government and ASX top 20 corporates. David’s senior commercial roles include advising major Resources and Energy companies across strategy, risk, and project management.

He was most recently the Global Resilience Programme Manager for IAG and was previously Head of Government Relations at both IAG and CGU Insurance.

David spent several years working with BHP Billiton across its the minerals and petroleum businesses, including appointments as Manager Group Risk and Senior Advisor Corporate Development.

He brings with his commercial expertise over a decade of experience in government which includes work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra and Thailand and work with the Office of National Assessments.

David has a Masters in International Relations, a Graduate Diploma in Trade, Economics and International Law and a degree in Politics.

Hugh Funder - Senior Investment Specialist, Sydney

Hugh Funder

Hugh Funder has an MBA (Sciences Po), a Master of Public Policy (Georgetown University), and a Bachelor of Arts (University of Melbourne), and brings a depth of knowledge and experience of state government policy, particularly public private partnerships.

Hugh comes to Austrade from Lend Lease Engineering where he was Manager of Business Development. Prior to this he has held structured finance and infrastructure advisory roles at ABN AMRO and at the Royal Bank of Scotland RBS where he worked to expose potential investors to market possibilities. He has also been Chief of Staff to two Federal Ministers and a State Minister.

In the past, Hugh has consulted with Microsoft Australia, NAB and Aquasia, and has worked with various government, urban design, international education, and international non-government organisations. Hugh undertook post graduate research in Melbourne and Paris, and was an intern on the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade in the early 1990s.

As a Senior Investment Specialist, Hugh will focus on major economic and social infrastructure.