Looking back at some of the past 12 months’ most popular stories, without a doubt, TIAA-CREF’s activities captured our growing readership’s attention: AP2 invests $750m in TIAA-CREF II was our most read story, while TIAA-CREF II raises $1.4bn and US farmland values not in bubble, says TIAA-CREF were also in the top 10.
The clicks are understandable: TIAA-CREF is among the front-runners in agriculture investment and is well on its way to surpassing the $2 billion target for its second farmland investment vehicle, which will make it the biggest agriculture investment offering on record. The offering is appealing to a range of investors – New Mexico State Investment Council recently put a lot of confidence in the fund by committing $200 million, for example – in part because it’s not structured like a traditional 10-year private equity fund, but more like a co-investment platform.
The suitability of private equity-style approaches, terms and conditions for agri has been a hot topic of conversation since we launched and was the premise for our most read Q&A, Agri investing needs realism, in which Marcus Elgin, chairman of Australian investment manager AAGIM, argued that asset management firms must adjust their management and fee structures to suit the agri market. He also suggested that some of the projected returns were too high to be realistic.
The emergence of REITs for farmland and the continuing debate about the right structure for agriculture investment were the focus of Agri REITs will mobilise the masses, says ex-Rabo head, an interview with ex-Rabobank Asia head of food and agribusiness research John Baker.
Other hot topics have included new market entrants or expansion – such as UBS’s establishment of an agri investment platform in Australia or ADB’s plans to hire for a new agribusiness investment team – and high profile people moves including Westchester’s hire of ex-Insight Investment head of farmland Martin Davies and more recently Adveq’s loss of Berry Polmann and Gaia Arnaboldi, who were spearheading the fund of funds’ agri investment platform.
This is just a snapshot of our coverage during the past 12 months, which included a number of milestones for us, too. From the outset, the agri investment community has embraced the steady stream of independent, proprietary news and analysisAgri Investor delivers and reader engagement has been amazing. As well as launching our online platform last year, we hosted our inaugural forum in Chicago in November where nearly 200 attendees heard from speakers including CIC’s Johannes Zhou.
Just like the agri market, we are gearing up for an even busier 2015. As well as expanding our editorial team, we are holding an event in Australia, the Agri Investor Forum Australia, in June and will be returning to Chicago in October. We will also soon publish our first special report, the Agri Almanac, and later this year will be introducing a data component to our online offering. Do get in touch to learn more and thank you to all who have contributed over the past 12 months.
PS We will not be sending out news alerts during the Easter break, but please check the homepage for new content during this period.
PPS Back by popular demand, I will be hosting a drinks event in London on April 30. Please save the date and get in touch if you want further details at firstname.lastname@example.org