It was in 2013 when SEB launched its first microfinancing fund, where financial institutions – through capital provided to micro-lending institutions – can combine favourable returns with contributions to positive social development in developing countries. Since then, every year the bank has started a new fund and the seventh will open now this coming spring.
With seven billion kronor placed in local currency in emerging & frontier markets, SEB is one of the largest players in Europe in microfinancing. The impact investing palette is now being broadened with a new fund – SEB Impact Opportunity – which is under development.
“During the six years we have worked with the microfinancing funds we have seen many interesting investments that fall outside of the structure for the existing funds. SEB Impact Opportunity therefore has a broader investment universe,” notes Hans Hellenborg, who is responsible for institutional product development in Asset Management Sales.
The fund will invest within areas as energy, financial inclusion, education and agricultural development.
“In this way, we offer our customers the combination of returns and the opportunity to contribute to the UN's goals for sustainable development”, says Camilla Löwenhielm, one of two managers behind SEB's microfinance funds and the new fund.
The new fund has been developed in close collaboration with a few institutional investors. In the autumn or next year the fund will also be opened publicly to other institutional investors.
In contrast to the other microfinancing funds, which have five-year terms, the new fund will not have any set maturity date, but will be a so-called open fund. But those who invest in the fund will bind themselves for between six to nine years.