What exactly do online “impact investing” platforms have to offer?

So many new online “impact investing” platforms were launched recently e.g Swell Investing, Open Invest and Motif. The premise is the same and a bit familiar by now: Millennials value impact and meaning in their investing decisions but no accessible solutions are available for them. Let’s forget for now about the existence of various crowdfunding platforms already enabling this (such as Trine, Lendahand, and Wiseed), and focus on the fact that Swell and others are supported by big groups- …

Three things to carefully consider when you invest in a (impact) debt fund

As a practitioner in impact investing, I have seen a multitude of fund proposals with debt investments as core focus – more commonly called “debt funds”. What do they have in common and what do you need to get right when assessing them? The rationale behind debt funds  While some of them might also conduct a limited number of equity investments, their main investment strategy consists in providing (private) debt to businesses and financial institutions in …

My move to the (clean) energy finance sector

As some of you know already, starting last November, I decided to move to a new sector for a one-year assignment (and a new city, I am now most of the time in Brussels) focusing on financing early stage projects in renewable energy across Africa, Asia and Latin America. I am sharing here, after three months, few observations: – Large opportunities: driven by absence of the grid in a large part of Africa, but also …

What to Consider When Investing in “Green” Microfinance?

Probably one of my last article on the topic as I am moving to the off-green energy space (non -MFI), I hope you enjoy! If you’re an impact investor, you probably want to do more in “green”. For instance, impact investing in microfinance, which constitutes a large portion of impact investing writ large, rarely incorporates environmental sustainability. You might think, my second bottom line is to help lower-income households get better access to financial services, …

Damage investing?

As impact investors, we need to be careful at some of unwanted but serious consequences of our investments that can go fully against the initial intentions. Take investing in Microfinance for instance. The social bottom line is financial inclusion, i.e helping undeserved segment get access to better financial services including credit. If, as investors, we keep pushing money in saturated markets, then the underlying MFIs will keep deploying credit, probably lending in less stringent and …

Microfinance investing: what to do when facing a (likely) saturated market?

One of the most tense situation an investor in microfinance and financial services face is when looking at an opportunity in a market that is overheating. On one hand you have your prospect or client requiring a large line of credit, and on the other hand, you have been reading those reports that the market is almost fully saturated. And the situation of course is further form being all black, otherwise the decision would be …

How to price a Social Impact Bond?

I find it quite fascinating that there is almost nothing in the social impact bond literature- from the insightful Brookings report to the amazing Social Finance database – on how to price a social impact bond. There are some figures shared here and there, but without any substantiation or figures helping calculate the IRR. In my opinion, this is mainly due to the following reasons: i) most investors in Social Impact Bonds are foundations and/or …