Fiera Capital Corp. is taking the next step in its aggressive expansion plans that include adding agriculture and private equity to its current asset class offerings.
The Montreal-based money manager, with C$110 billion ($82 billion) in assets under management, has set a goal of reaching C$220 billion by 2020. To that end, Fiera is creating a joint venture with three partners to invest in agriculture and, at a later date, to add private equity, said Sylvain Brosseau, Fiera's global president and chief operating officer.
The joint venture will be led by Antoine Bisson-McLernon, former managing director and head of natural resources and private equity at PSP Investments, Montreal. Mr. Bisson-McLernon will be partner and CEO of what will be Fiera Comox Partners; he and two other partners, who have not yet been named, will hold 35% of Comox, with Fiera holding the remainder.
PSP manages the C$116.8 billion in pension assets for Canadian federal public service workers as well as Canadian forces, reserve forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Mr. Bisson-McLernon was replaced by Managing Director Simon Marc, who had led PSP Investments Europe, said a PSP spokesman.
“We're optimistic that we can deliver the (agriculture) strategy, first to Canada and then to the United States,” Mr. Brosseau said. “It ultimately will be a global effort.”
Fiera executives expect the joint venture to create an open-end fund that will target a first close of C$150 million to C$200 million, Mr. Brosseau said.
“We've begun with soft marketing to our clients, and the response has been quite spectacular,” he said, although the new farmland strategy does not yet have any assets for investment. “It's a less crowded market, much like infrastructure when we began that about 10 years ago.”
The company will leverage its existing relationships with Canadian and, later, U.S. institutional and private wealth clients, a formula for expansion that has worked well with other moves Fiera has made in the past several years, he said.