Daniel H. Eccles is AgIS Capital’s Vice President of Finance and is responsible for financial and client reporting. He earned a B.S. in Accounting from Suffolk University and an MBA from Babson College’s Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I graduated from Suffolk University with a BS in Accounting and an MBA from Babson College. Before joining AgIS Capital, I was a director at Breakaway Ventures where I oversaw the accounting, finance, and investor relation functions. I started my career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in its Investment Management practice with a focus on private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. After PwC I spent time at multiple private equity and venture capital firms. I also spent 3 years working for the Boston Bruins. In addition, I spent five years at Hancock Agricultural Investment Group (HAIG) as the Controller and Principal Accounting Officer where I was responsible for the financial and client reporting of the company in both the US and Australia where I worked with most of the folks at AgIS Capital.
What is a typical day like as an Accountant at AgIS Capital?
I do not really have a typical day. It depends on the day, week, month, or quarter. Most quarter and year-ends I am working with auditors and investors on reporting and performance. This takes up a good chunk of my time. Other days I could be working with acquisitions, business development or responding to investor requests.
What do you enjoy most about being the Vice President of Finance?
For the accountant side of me, I know there is always a right and wrong answer, it’s pretty black and white. For the investor side of me it’s the constant variety of being able to work with the different groups at AgIS Capital, problem solve and I feel like I am constantly learning.
Why did you choose Agriculture and what helped you to make that choice?
I don’t know that I necessarily chose Agriculture. After spending my entire career in the private equity and venture capital world, as I mentioned I joined the Bruins. After being there for 3 years I missed the challenge and consistent learning from being in the investment world, so I started looking at new opportunities. At that time a position opened at HAIG. I honestly could not grow grass in my yard (I still can’t) so I was not sure how I was I going to fit in with a bunch of farmers! With that said, accepting the role at HAIG was the best career decision I have made. I learned so much about the asset class and had the opportunity to work with most of the people at AgIS Capital and that decision obviously let me to where I am today.
What is the most interesting part about your job at AgIS Capital?
The most interesting part about my job at AgIS Capital is the variety of work I get to do. As I mentioned, I do not really have a typical day. One day I could be on acquisition calls, sitting on investment committee meetings or speaking with clients and on other days I am working with the financial and accounting team. It’s the constant variety of not having a typical day that is most interesting. I also get to work with a lot of really smart people that I learn from every day.
What do you see in the future for the Agriculture world?
When I first started at HAIG most investments were managed through separate accounts. As the asset class had evolved and new investors enter the space, I think we are starting to see a shift from the traditional investor wanting to invest through separate accounts and we are seeing more fund structures, commingled investing, co-investing and investing beyond the farm. As we move forward, I could see us having to become more creative with how we raise and deploy capital.
When you have some spare time what do you like to do?
When I do have spare time, it is generally spent with my daughter, and I am also an avid CrossFitter. My day typical day starts at 4am with CrossFit and that goes until about 6am. This is my only really spare time until my work day is done. After that I spend most of the evening with my daughter and that can be anything from playing basketball, tennis, taking her to all her various activities and occasionally being pressured into to handstand competitions with her which generally does not end well for me!