Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Big Farmland Push By Nuveen (TIAA)

We've track the investing behemoth, some links below.
From The Australian via Farmlandgrab:

Nuveen reaps rewards of steady agricultural focus
The Australian | 6 September 2017

Nuveen reaps rewards of steady agricultural focus
The purchase of more Australian farms, agribusinesses and food processing plants is high on the agenda of one of the world’s biggest investment managers, the Chicago-based Nuveen.
Formerly known as TIAA — the $US900 billion ($1.1 trillion) fund holding the retirement savings and superannuation assets of America’s teachers and university professors — Nuveen has long focused on the purchase of farmland and forestry reserves as a key part of its diversification strategy.
Nuveen’s global head of alternative asset investments, John Goodreds, visiting Australia this week to address a superannuation convention, said yesterday that farmland had become a staple of TIAA’s investment plans.
Nuveen owns $US6bn of farms around the world — most located in the US, Australia and Brazil — covering 700,000 ha.
About $US750 million has been spent buying Australian grain and cropping farms in the past decade, with Nuveen holding considerable rural assets across NSW (117,000ha), the Darling Downs in Queensland (30,000ha), Victoria’s Wimmera region (7000ha) and Western Australia’s southwest grain belt (122,000ha).
Its buying spree attracted particular attention in 2012 when TIAA-Westchester bought 17,200ha Cobran Station in NSW for about $18.5m to lease out to the US-owned Auscott cotton company.
Mr Goodreds said the business’s proven investment strategy was to mitigate and spread risk by buying farmland in geographically separate regions, to own the properties for more than 10 years and to focus on grain, grapes, fruit, vegetables and tree crop production rather than livestock.
A common philosophy of Nuveen — which is better known in Australian agricultural circles through its farm purchasing and management arm Westchester — is to buy the farmland and then lease it out to local farmers.
Mr Goodreds said the average return for Nuveen from its agricultural investments was 8-10 per cent.
He said there was no reason for investors — particularly Australian superannuation funds — to steer clear of owning farms purely because they were worried about the vagaries of nature and seasons.
“Our view is a land-based approach — very rarely do we farm ourselves — based on cropping and a globally diversified portfolio, 50 per cent of which (by value) is US farmland,” Mr Goodreds said.
“In our view it is very important (when investing in agriculture) to be patient capital with a long-term investment horizon — thinking in terms of 10 years plus — with (assets) in each country spread across different regions and different crop types to mitigate some of the risk in agriculture.”
He said the reluctance of Australian superannuation funds — which have only invested about $2.6bn of the more than $2.2 trillion of retirement savings they manage in local agriculture — was due to the time needed for thorough research....MORE
For folks who aren't as obsessive as we, here's the lowdown on the name change via MarketWatch, Jan. 23:
TIAA is one of the oldest names in the retirement industry, founded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1918. But it is stepping away from that history in one part of its business as it seeks more money from outside investors.

TIAA’s asset-management unit Monday renamed itself Nuveen, taking the brand of a company TIAA purchased in 2014. The division’s dozen money managers oversee almost $900 billion in assets, ranging from stock mutual funds to timber and real estate.

TIAA in December hired Vijay Advani, former co-president at Franklin Templeton Investments, to be president and operating chief of the reorganized business....
Sept. 2016
TIAA-CREF sub. Buys A Chunk Of Australia's Largest Wheat Grower
Aug. 2016 
Regional Fed Banks: Agricultural Credit Conditions Crumble 
Aug. 2014
TIAA-CREF Secures $1.4bn for Second Farmland Vehicle
Feb. 2013
U.S. Private Equity Betting on World Agriculture (GMO; Soros; TIAA-CREF; the usual suspects)
Aug. 2012 
Three Big Timber Deals
May 2012
TIAA-CREF Raises $2 Billion for Global Farmland Investing Company
Oct. 2010
"Is TIAA-CREF Investing In Farmland A Harbinger Of The Next Asset Bubble?"

And many more.