Macquarie hires former CPPIB ag chief

Angus Selby will be tasked with sourcing investments in the Northern Hemisphere alongside Charles Newton, ex-principal of the Canadian pension, who is also joining the firm.

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets has hired two high-profile alumni of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a signal that it intends to boost its ag presence outside the Southern Hemisphere.

Angus Selby, former head of agriculture at CPPIB, and Charles Newton, most recently principal at the $257 billion Canadian pension, will join the Australian firm’s fund management business in London.

Selby left CPPIB last spring, shortly before the institution sold its entire US farmland portfolio, totaling $520 million, to an entity owned by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He joined the pension in 2012, and the institution started investing in farmland in 2013. Selby went on to lead the design and formation of a C$4.5 billion ($3.7 billion; €2.9 billion) global portfolio of direct agriculture investments.

In April 2016, CPPIB bought a 40 percent stake in the agricultural business of Glencore for $2.5 billion. A year later, it was reported to be considering a sale of its existing farmland portfolio, having decided to stop deploying capital in the asset class. CPPIB did not wish to comment on its ag strategy at the time.

Selby’s 20-year tenure in the ag sector also includes two years as a principal and portfolio manager at London-based Altima Partners, two years as a vice-president for commodities at Morgan Stanley, consultancy work at Pegasys Strategy and Development in South Africa and a three-year ag accountancy stint at Deloitte.

Newton, whose role at CPPIB involved looking after direct ag private equity investments, has also worked in the commodities teams at Altima Partners and Morgan Stanley.

At Macquarie, the duo will be responsible for sourcing agricultural investments in the Northern Hemisphere. “These appointments will enable MIRA to expand its existing agricultural footprint, providing investors access to a geographically diverse investment platform,” the firm said.

MIRA actively manages more than 4.5 million hectares of farmland in Australia and Brazil and has £1 billion ($1.4 billion; €1.1 billion) of agricultural assets under management.