IMRF ups agri exposure, hires new manager

The Illinois-based pension fund has transferred its agricultural investments account from Cozad/Westchester to the Hancock Natural Resource Group.

The $34 billion Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) has terminated its mandate with Cozad/Westchester Agricultural Asset Management and reallocated the $145 million account to Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG).

The pension fund added an extra $100 million to the mandate, taking the total to $245 million, as part of an overall increase in its allocation to agriculture and alternatives.

The extra $100 million was reallocated from the public equity portfolio in an effort to boost the alternatives portfolio to 9 percent; it currently accounts for 5 percent of the overall portfolio.

The termination of Cozad/Westchester was not due to performance, according to a press release, but a result of Westchester’s relationship with TIAA-CREF that acquired the firm in 2010, a spokesperson told Agri Investor.

“In 2010, Westchester was acquired by TIAA-CREF, which has first rights to all new acquisitions. IMRF felt this would make it difficult to grow the mandate into the future,” she said.