Pantheon expands into agri, timber as part of real assets push

The alternatives fund of funds giant has launched a real assets separate account business on the back of demand from clients for increasing exposure to the sub-sectors within real assets.

Pantheon, the alternatives fund of funds manager, has launched a real assets separate account business on the back of demand from clients for increasing real assets exposure.

The firm, which today closed a $1 billion global infrastructure fund, has until now focused mainly on energy and infrastructure, but will now advise clients on fund investments in the agriculture, timber and mining sub-sectors of real assets, according to Kathryn Wilmes, partner and global head of infrastructure and real assets at Pantheon.

To this end, the company has appointed Evan Corley, a principal in the investment team, as head of natural resources within Wilmes’s team.

“The move was driven in response to growing client interest for active real asset strategies,” Wilmes told Agri Investor. “Real assets have become recognised as a distinct asset class with attractive portfolio benefits, but there are also challenges in accessing this opportunity set, so clients have come to us for help in that regard.”

Investments into timber and agri will be made through real assets mandates on an opportunistic basis and so far no clients have requested a specific allocation to the sub-sectors.

“We intend to focus on primary opportunities to help clients find attractive managers in an evolving but still small manager universe; the large number of first-time funds reminds me of the infrastructure space five years ago,” said Wilmes. “But we will also look to supplement with secondaries and co-investments in due course. Although there is still some maturing of that market need before an agri secondary market develops, it is likely we are only really one or two years away from that. Our experience in infrastructure would suggest that market development will happen in relatively quick order.”

Pantheon has started to evaluate managers and funds operating in North America, Australia and South America.