Wells Fargo & Co.’s wealth management division is soliciting investor money for a new commodities hedge fund just as oil hovers near a six-year low and other commodities prices slide to their worst levels since 2002.
The Apollo Natural Resources II ASP Fund has already raised about $7 million and is looking for wealthy individuals who can afford the minimum $100,000 entry investment, according to a July 16 securities filing.
The Wells Fargo Investment Institute, launched in December, is managing the fund and didn’t specify what types of commodities it plans to invest in, according to the filing. Adam Taback, president of Wells Fargo’s Alternative Strategies Group, is listed as the managing director for the institute.
The investment institute, which provides advice and investment options to the bank’s wealthier clients, predicted “an improving outlook” for commodities more generally in its 2015 mid-year investment forecast.
“The prospects for modest upside in industrial metals, most energy products, and some agricultural markets, create an opportunity for investors to gradually increase their exposures to commodities,” the institute wrote.
Commodities have tumbled over the last year as oversupply, economic uncertainty and slumping currencies depress prices for everything from coffee to wheat. The Bloomberg Commodity Index has dropped 28 percent from a year ago, with coffee and nickel among the worst performers. Arabica coffee slid to an 18-month low July 27 as the Brazilian real fell against the dollar, while nickel on the London Metal Exchange declined as Chinese equities posted the biggest selloff since 2007.
“Commodities could well be depressed for some time due to the likelihood that any meaningful positive news as the Chinese economy won’t arrive quickly and in sufficient size to turn sentiment positive,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a July 27 note to clients.
“As disclosed in a recent Form D filing, we can confirm that we have launched the Apollo Natural Resources II ASP Fund,” Vince Scanlon, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, said in an e-mail. “We cannot further comment because this is a private placement.”
Reuters reported earlier that Wells Fargo was partnering with private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC on the fund and was trying to raise $3 billion.
Rare bright spots in the commodities markets include gasoline futures, which have climbed as an improving U.S. economy boosted driving demand more than expected, and cotton, which has gained amid rising U.S. exports.
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