Daily Archives: 18 November 2015


SÃO PAULO — An American investment giant that manages multi-billion-dollar pension funds in the United States, Canada, and Sweden faces allegations that it has circumvented Brazilian laws on foreign acquisition of farmland, including land from a shady Brazilian business figure accused of two murders.

Acquisitions of Brazilian farmland by the US-based Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association–College Retirement Equities Fund, or TIAA-CREF — which promotes transparency, social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and respect for land rights — grew by over 145 percent between 2012 and 2014 to 256,324 hectares, as part of a $5.1 billion global portfolio of farmland in several countries, including the United States.

A three-year investigation by a coalition, including Barcelona-based Grain that monitors land purchases worldwide, concluded that the pension fund’s farmland investment unit TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture (TCGA) — the largest in the world to focus on retirement savings investors, and into which Swedish AP2 and Canada’s CDPQ and bcIMC pension funds have also invested — had created “complex company structures” that effectively skirt Brazilian law.

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