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Director, Head of Agricultural Research & Strategy

Date Posted: Jul 29, 2019

Location: Whippany, NJ, US, 0

Company: MetLife

Position:  Director, Head of Agricultural Research & Strategy


Job Location:  Whippany, NJ




MetLife Investment Management (MIM) is a premier asset manager with breadth across various asset sectors and global markets, and strong asset-liability management capabilities.  With more than $605 billion in total assets under management, MIM is one of the largest institutional investment managers in the world.  MIM’s Agricultural Finance Group ranks among the most active private agricultural, agribusiness and timberland mortgage providers in North America, with a total agricultural mortgage portfolio of $17.9 Billion.  MIM sources agricultural investments through five regional offices in the U.S. and a consulting office in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 


The Role:


The Director, Head of Agricultural Research & Strategy (Director) role is very high profile and critical to the success of MIM’s Agricultural Finance business.  The Director leads the development and communication of investment strategy for the agricultural investments of all MIM clients, provides underwriting guidance and leads the effort to build and enhance MIM’s Agricultural Finance business’ industry recognition through research publication and external industry leadership.  The portfolios directly influenced by this role currently total $17.9 Billion in assets under management, with annual transaction activity of over $3 Billion.  Around 100 associates in the Agricultural Finance business regularly leverage the guidance produced by this function in the origination and management of agricultural investments. 


Key Responsibilities:

•            Solidify and enhance MIM Agricultural Finance’s recognition as a leader in industry.  This role oversees production of insightful externally distributed MIM-branded sector research publications, including the MIM Agriculture Quarterly and topical white papers.  The role also regularly writes for publication in key industry trade journals and other high-profile media outlets (i.e. WSJ, Bloomberg, etc.).  MIM’s Head of Agricultural Research & Strategy is sought-after as a speaker at key industry conferences and events, and regularly provides comments representing MIM’s market views, outlook and investment strategy.

•            Lead team of two full-time associates and one summer MBA intern focused on the Agricultural Research & Strategy function.  Effectively manage the team, promoting professional growth and productivity.

•            The Director leads the development and communication of investment strategy for agricultural investments, in support of the Agricultural Strategies Group and regional investment teams.  This occurs directly through leadership of market and strategy discussions during recurring weekly, monthly, quarterly and semi-annual meetings that include Ag portfolio teams and other MIM senior management.  The role regularly represents the Ag sector in MIM discussions regarding relative value, portfolio modeling, portfolio performance expectations, etc. 

•            Manage third party data providers and oversight of market research budget.  Ensure the best resources are available for support of research, strategy and investment underwriting purposes.  Promote effective use of the resources through education and training.

•            The Director oversees production of guidance that ensures consistent and supported underwriting assumptions for agricultural investments, thus assisting in management of portfolio risk.  This guidance includes regular updates of commodity price guidance reports both domestically and internationally.  The role also serves as a member of the Ag Investment Committee, reviewing and opining on potential Ag investment opportunities, including their fit with portfolio risk/return objectives and the underwriting relative to MIM’s agricultural market outlook. 

•            The Director is regularly tapped to lead key projects and assessments that require a high level of agricultural portfolio and investment expertise. 

•            The Director directly communicates MIM’s market views/outlook and investment strategy to both internal and external clients.  This occurs through in person communication of market views through quarterly client presentations, and through written market analysis prepared and delivered directly to clients or in quarterly portfolio reporting.  Further, the role is a primary point of contact, and source of response, for client questions regarding emerging market trends, portfolio exposures/risks, and other topical issues that regularly emerge.


Key Relationships:

  • Reports to:    SVP, Risk Research & Analytics
  • Direct reports/team: 3
  • Key Stakeholders: Investors, Consultants, Attorneys, Compliance, Operations and Financial Reporting Staff.


Candidate Qualifications:

Essential Business Experience and Technical Skills:

  • Master’s degree in agriculture, economics, finance or investments
  • 12+ years of relevant work experience in the agricultural investment industry
  • Candidate should have excellent analytical, project management and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely both orally and in writing with all levels of management
  • Ability to prioritize and multi-task in fast-paced work environment
  • Proficiency in analytical packages such as R, ArcGIS, and Python preferred
  • Well-versed in statistical analysis
  • Knowledge of capital markets and institutional investing
  • Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Excel 

 Leadership Competencies:

  • Thinks Strategically – Sets direction aligned to the company’s strategy, applying external and global perspective to meet local and global needs.
  • Creates Partnerships – Authentically builds trusted relationships and collaborates across global, diverse and multi-functional teams to successfully drive business objectives.
  • Seizes Opportunity – Seeks new opportunities and ways to create balanced business growth while improving operational capabilities.
  • Grows Talent – Inclusively and pro-actively develops talent, empowers individuals and manages diverse teams to drive engagement and performance.
  • Drives Results – Sets aggressive goals and is accountable for continuously driving improved performance, leading change and ensuring high standards.



MetLife is a proud equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to attracting, retaining, and maximizing the performance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. It is MetLife's policy to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, marital or domestic/civil partnership status, genetic information, citizenship status, uniformed service member or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

MetLife maintains a drug-free workplace.

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Requisition #: 110898