FIIG makes first impact investing play

Specialist fixed income house FIIG Securities partnered with the microfinance arm of World Vision to launch its first impact investing product in Australia.

FIIG Securities and VisionFund International launched an impact bond to the Australian market today, in an effort to help fund financial inclusion activities around the globe.

Designed with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in mind, the bond will seek to raise $20 million to provide financial services - mostly through microfinance loans - to families living below the poverty line in developing countries.

FIIG's services in arranging the bond have been provided pro-bono, with all fees to both VisionFund and its clients waived. Perpetual Trustees have also provided its services entirely pro-bono, while King & Wood Mallesons, MinterEllison and ASX subsidiary Austraclear all did so in part.

The bond will be offered to "eligible" professional and sophisticated investors, and is set to be issued as a Kangaroo bond. That is, it will be issued in Australia by a non-Australian entity, in Australian dollars.

VisionFund claims to have provided 16 million loans worth around USD$9 billion over the last 15 years to mostly women in 28 developing nations. It points out that around 1.7 billion adults - 56% of which are women - don't hold a bank account with a financial institution or mobile money provider.

FIIG managing director Jim Stening said the bond was a milestone for both the firm and the Australian market, serving as FIIG's first venture into impact investing.

"It is the first time we have brought an impact investment product to market, with the VisionFund bond meeting the growing appetite amongst Australian investors for purpose-driven investment without sacrificing returns," Stening said.

"We are honoured to be able to partner with VisionFund to arrange the fundraising, enabling Australian investors to directly support tens of thousands of vulnerable individuals around the world so that they can take care of their families and create better futures.

"From our team's perspective, arranging this fundraising on a pro bono basis is a high impact form of exponential donation and we are all very proud to be supporting the world-leading work of VisionFund."

VisionFund International president and chief executive Michael Mithika said VisionFund was grateful for the opportunity to bring a bond issued by a microfinance organisation to the Australian market.

Read more: FIIG SecuritiesVisionFund InternationalWorld VisionASXAustraclearJim SteningMichael Mithika
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