Agricultural fund manager to maintain independence as it pursues long-term focus on promising asset class
Walter Global Asset Management (Walter GAM) has enhanced its diversified portfolio of alternative investments with a majority interest in Bonnefield Financial, a leading Canadian farmland investment firm.
“Bonnefield's strong team has driven phenomenal growth over the past decade, to reach nearly one billion dollars of assets under management currently,” said Walter GAM CEO and founding partner Sylvain Brosseau.
Founded in 2009, Bonnefield has established itself as the foremost provider of land-lease financing for farmers in Canada. A leader in responsible, sustainable investment, the firm has arranged sale-leaseback agreements with farmers to create a portfolio of agricultural investment funds.
In light of the current volatility in stock markets and low yields in the fixed-income space, investment in farmland has become increasingly attractive to institutional and private investors. The high-quality, in-demand asset class offers the promise of stable, uncorrelated returns along with an effective hedge against inflation.
“In Walter GAM, Bonnefield has found an ideal partner to help us achieve our long-term vision for our company,” said Bonnefield President and CEO Tom Eisenhauer. “In addition, Bonnefield should benefit from Walter Global Asset Management's multifaceted support through its next ambitious stage of growth, while creating with this transaction a true win-win situation for all of our stakeholders.”
Bonnefield will remain independently operated by its existing management team, who will also be getting an increased stake in the firm as it aims to grow employee ownership over time. The management team will also have the opportunity to access expertise provided by Walter GAM as they leverage Bonnefield’s leading position to boost growth and achieve its full potential.
The transaction is also anticipated to result in greater access to capital for Canadian farmers, both from Bonnefield’s existing farmland purchase and lease offerings as well as future product offerings to help farmers grow, transition, and mitigate financial risk in their businesses.
For its part, Bonnefield has pledged to continue its role as an active participant in Canadian agriculture, dedicated to protecting farmland for farming and enhancing the long-term sustainability of Canadian agriculture.
“It has been a privilege participating in the creation of Canada's largest, most successful farmland investment company that has protected farmland while helping Canadian farm families,” said Jan Kaminski, president of Colonnade Investments and co-founder of Bonnefield. “It has been an extremely fulfilling venture and we wish Bonnefield and Walter GAM all the best in taking Bonnefield to new heights.”