Economic downturn delays launch of agricultural investment fund

The investment management company Schroders has announced it has delayed the launch of its Agricultural Land Investment Company because of poor economic and stock market conditions.

The global land fund – with target net returns of 10-15% a year over 5-10 years – was due to go live at the beginning of October, but had been delayed until conditions improved, Schroders head of UK retail business, Robin Stoakley said.

“Clearly the current market conditions are far too uncertain and volatile to launch the fund now. However we do intend to bring Agricultural Land to market when we judge conditions to be suitable, as the fund offers a great long-term growth play with excellent diversification characteristics.”

The decision came just a few weeks after Bidwells Agribusiness and Palmer Capital Partners launched their €300m Pan-European farmland fund (PEFF). “The two are very different products,” Bidwells’s Richard Warburton said.

The Schroders fund was largely a publically-equated vehicle targeting private investors and was therefore subject to the vagaries of the stock market, he explained. The Bidwells fund, he said, targeted institutional investors who could take a longer-term view and were less directly affected by the stock market fluctuations.

“We’ve not detected any slackening of interest over the past few weeks,” he added.

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