Chattanooga pension hunts ag and timber managers

The $230m pension has issued RFPs for commitments to the asset classes through its investment consultant Dahab Associates.

The Fire and Police Pension Fund of Chattanooga, Tennessee, has issued requests for proposals for $5 million commitments to agriculture and timber funds, according to its investment consultant.

The $230 million pension is searching for managers in each asset class, according to the website of Dahab Associates. The website also lists a request for proposals for a $2 million to $3 million commitment from an unnamed New York area foundation interested in an open-ended or closed-ended agriculture fund.

Responses to Chattanooga’s agriculture and timber RFPs are due March 27. Responses to the unidentified foundation’s RFP are due February 28.

Dahab is a mid-sized investment advisor with $17 billion in assets under management by nine consultants working on behalf of public pension funds, foundations and high-net-worth individuals, research analyst Kevin Condy told Agri Investor. Its clients vary in size between $30 million and $2.5 billion, according to Condy.

Dahab does not maintain a pre-approved managers list. Conducting its searches in an open fashion, Condy said, helps it identify new managers pursuing unique strategies. Each posting tends to attract between 10 and 15 applications.

‘Unusual’ query

Condy noted that Dahab has been investing in farmland and timber for more than 25 years, with timber being more common. The consultant has invested with Molpus, BTG, UBS, FIA and others.

Given the long-term nature of the investment focus of many of Dahab’s clients, Condy said it is common to have some interested in timber and ag, but unusual for the firm to have three searches in the asset classes happening simultaneously.

“For a client that has only $25 or $30 million, maybe it [ag and timber] is not the best fit,” Condy said, describing how the level of interest in ag and timber varies among Dahab’s clients.  “It starts to become interesting in that $80 to $100 million range.”