TRSL has also expanded another of its separate accounts held with Hancock Agricultural Investment Group by $25 million, focusing on farmland in the US and Australia.
Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana creates $100m separate account with AgIS
The Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) has established a $100 million separate account with Boston-based private equity firm AgIS.
During a recent board meeting, the $19.7 billion pension fund confirmed that the separate account would be focused on investing in permanent crops and related infrastructure in North America, noting that permanent crops “exhibit higher cash yields” and produce returns based on income generation as opposed to land appreciation.
A second announcement made by TRSL indicates that the fund has expanded another of its separate accounts held with Hancock Agricultural Investment Group (HAIG) by $25 million. The account, which focuses on the U.S. and Australia, was originated in 2016 with an initial $75 million on the recommendation of TRSL’s investment consultant Hamilton Lane. Currently, the account is allocated 67 percent to investments in the U.S., 20 percent in Australia, with the remaining 13 percent to be earmarked for investments in permanent crops in the U.S.
This is the second pension fund to establish a separate account with AgIS in the past 16 months.
In September 2017, the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) engaged AgIS to manage a $150 million separate account – marking the first time a pension fund awarded a separate account in the ag investing space.
These agreements are indicative of the confidence had in AgIS, and are reflective of the caliber of the firm and its founder Jeff Conrad.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, Conrad went on to attend Penn State University and to study agricultural business management and agricultural economics at Cornell University. In 1990 he founded, and was subsequently president of Hancock Agricultural Investment Group (HAIG), a globally renowned organization that grew to control more than $2 billion in properties and capital on behalf of institutional investors.
During his tenure with HAIG, noticing that the farmland investment class lacked a proper benchmark, Conrad co-chaired the establishment of the NCREIF Farmland Index in 1995. Today the NCREIF is a widely relied upon tool that includes data from 743 agricultural properties with a combined market value of $8 billion as of December 31, 2016. And as the asset class has matured, so has the NCREIF with it – now able to offer insight into the performance of agricultural properties by crop type – whether row or permanent crop – and by commodity type, or management structure.
After retiring from HAIG in 2011, Conrad re-entered the ring, launching Boston-based private equity firm AgIS in 2013.