UK Pension Protection Fund seeks responsible farmland and timberland managers

Candidates must manage assets “responsibly and sustainably”

The Pension Protection Fund, the UK’s £9bn (€10.8bn) pension lifeboat scheme, is seeking to hire a panel of fund managers to run farmland and timberland “responsibly and sustainably”.
“The board is seeking to appoint a panel of fund managers that can access opportunities in farmland and timberland,” it said. “By this, the board means predominantly the acquisition of land to cultivate and market agricultural or forest products.”
The amount of assets the PPF allocates will depend on the “opportunities available” at any given time, the PPF says in a tender document. The PPF, which is similar to the US Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), is a leading advocate of responsible investment; it envisages that the investments will be predominantly in land and the operations necessary to cultivate and market agricultural produce, or to grow and sell timber.

It plans a thorough selection process to identify a diverse range of managers.“The ability to manage farmland and timberland responsibly and sustainably will be a key requirement in the selection process,” the PPF states. Candidate firms’ approach to responsible and sustainable investment will be one of nine criteria for selection.
The PPF won’t consider investing directly in the soft commodities markets or agricultural equities.
The PPF expects to appoint a roster of around six managers, with contracts set at four years, plus extensions, for investments that may last up to 10 years. It expects around 10 managers will be invited to tender or participate.

Candidate managers must have at least $250m in the relevant asset class.

The tender adds that the PPF may be using an independent adviser during the process. The deadline for responses is March 5. PPF homepage