Peoples Company hires AcreTrader exec in capital advisory role

Jonathan Shively says he will look to help expand existing separate account and structured product offerings to connect institutional capital with farmland.

Peoples Company has hired former AcreTrader executive Jonathan Shively as managing director of capital partnerships.

The role includes responsibilities related to Iowa-headquartered Peoples Company’s offerings of farmland investments through separate accounts and structured products.

Shively’s responsibilities at AcreTrader included work on expanding uptake of the company’s Acres land analysis platform. According to his LinkedIn profile, he previously spent almost 20 years as managing director for capital markets at Stephens Inc, an investment bank in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“The recurring theme across my 25-year plus career has been building institutional relationships and connecting capital to different investment classes, whether that’s public or private, buildings or agricultural land,” Shively told Agri Investor.

Shively said his new role with Peoples Company was previously occupied by Mike Bousselot, who is transitioning to a part-time position following his recent election to Iowa’s State Legislature. Shively said he was introduced to Peoples Company president Steve Bruere over the course of gaining more exposure to farmland investing and was impressed by the widespread network and role the company has established within markets.

“We’re viewed as neutral. We’re more someone to view as a partner. We’re not a wealth advisor. We’re not an institution. We’re not a fund,” said Shively, who will be based in Peoples Company’s Little Rock office. “We just build the capabilities to help those individuals and companies to diligence, acquire and manage farmland.”

He said his role will focus on connecting institutional investors with farmland through separately managed accounts aimed at high-net-worth investors and structured products developed with wealth managers, both of which the company already offers. Peoples Company separately uses AcreTrader as its broker dealer for deals arranged through its DST Farms unit, which offers retail investors tax efficient structures for re-deploying proceeds of property investments into farmland.

Bruere wrote in a Peoples Company blog that newly attractive alternatives – such as certificates of deposit, bonds, T-Bills and other liquid investments offering short term yields of up to 5.5 percent – could help tempt sales of high-quality farms that create a generational buying opportunity for long-term buyers less sensitive to price.

He said that just as he remembers the willingness of certain investors to pay outsized prices for high-quality properties at earlier stages of his career, a young member of his current team described the current market as one in which “scared money doesn’t make money.”

“Even if the market softens, in the long-term investors can be confident that acquisition economics will be largely irrelevant,” Bruere wrote. “While purchasing an alternative short-term asset with higher current cash yield and limited appreciation opportunities may be appealing now, these vehicles do not provide the benefits of farmland and generational value.”

Last month, Peoples Company hired Doug Hodge as director of appraisal, who formerly held farmland appraisal positions with International Farming Corporation, Nuveen and others, according to his LinkedIn profile.