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First-of-its-kind fund launched to support responsible ag practices

Building on its work with leading global corporates and strategic investors, the Swiss-based investment advisor, Clarmondial, has finalized agreements with Duff & Phelps (Luxembourg) Management Company S.A.R.L. and Pictet Asset Services to launch a first-of-kind fund to finance responsible agricultural businesses in established supply chains. Allen & Overy has been retained as the legal advisor to the fund. The offering memorandum and other documents were submitted to Luxembourg’s Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) for approval on 24 October 2016.

An open-ended, AIFMD-compliant vehicle will be established in Luxembourg to serve as an affordable credit channel for agricultural producers committed to sustainable environmental and social practices. In particular, the fund will seek to benefit smallholder farmers in emerging and developing countries that operate to industry best practices.

This innovative fund has been developed using a demand-driven approach in partnership with strategic investors, corporates and farmers. As a scalable, commercial, fixed income product, the fund addresses the increasing agricultural value chain finance gap as well as investors’ demand for alternative products contributing to sustainable agriculture, food security, climate smart agriculture and smallholder finance. 

Tanja Havemann, Director and Founder of Clarmondial AG, stated that "We are excited to launch this product, which links investors interested in sustainable agriculture investing and fixed income with the financing need of value chain stakeholders working with smallholder farmers to promote rural economic development, food security and climate smart agriculture."

Duff & Phelps (Luxembourg) Management Company S.A.R.L. has been appointed as the AIFM for the fund. Alan Picone, Global Head of Risk and Management Company Solutions at Duff & Phelps said "We are delighted to serve as the AIFM for this new fund. Our proven structure and independent solution will deliver to the highest standards the required regulatory substance, governance, operational and risk management so the fund is fully compliant under AIFMD."

Claude Pech, Global Head of Business Development and Client Relationship Management at Pictet Asset Services, explained that Pictet Asset Services will provide custody and fund administration services to the fund. 

He added that "We see an increasing demand from institutional investors for loan strategies. Clarmondial’s vehicle will be available for qualified investors who are looking for mid- to long-term investments with commercial returns and a sustainable impact on agriculture business." 

Pete Veal, Syngenta’s Head of Business Development for Africa-Middle East (AME) said "Syngenta committed at the G8 in 2012 to invest in unlocking agricultural potential on the African Continent. After 3 years of extensive business development work across the continent, one of the major bottlenecks we have identified to agricultural development is affordability and the need for a financial "kick start" to create that momentum. 

Funds that address this bottleneck with affordable working capital assistance, are essential to take African agriculture to the next level. We have been discussing with Clarmondial from the beginning and fully support and welcome the creation of this fund."

For more information:
In Switzerland; 
Simon Roth, Head of Group Communication Zurich

Duff & Phelps (Luxembourg) Management Company S.A.R.L.
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