Symbiotics, the Geneva-based leading market access platform for impact investing, is thrilled to announce that it has surpassed USD 1 bn in Impact Bond issues in June 2018. Through its bond program the company has issued 116 impact bonds, thereby financing 78 financial institutions in 32 different countries over the last 7 years. It has hereby supported the economic development of over 1â€™100â€™000 entrepreneurs in countries largely excluded from the global financial system.
The long-term goal is to improve the livelihood of low and middle-income populations and to strengthen local economies. Symbioticsâ€™ impact bonds bring together socially responsible investors and financial intermediaries with the aim of funding microentrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises, improving their access to capital and their access to basic needs. This is in line with many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that address poverty, hunger, inequalities, decent work conditions and economic growth. Institutions financed include traditional microfinance institutions, banks focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as other institutions with a focus on low income housing, education finance, renewable energy systems for low income households etc. The common denominator of these institutions is that they are based in emerging markets globally, in countries like Cambodia, India, Burkina Faso or El Salvador, where financial markets are less developed and efficient compared to more developed economies.
Impact bonds have the same characteristics as traditional fixed income instruments and are appropriate for professional investors wanting to gain direct exposure to impact finance. Bonds are issued in USD, EUR or local currency, and each bond has an associated ISIN code and can be settled through the most common clearing systems for Eurobonds, Euroclear and Clearstream. The average bond coupon is 5.2% in USD, illustrating that it is possible to combine an impactful social return with an attractive financial performance.
Symbiotics is the leading market access platform for impact investing. Over the past decade, the company has originated and structured nearly 3440 investment transactions, worth more than USD 4.4 billion, on behalf of 399 companies in 81 emerging and frontier markets, all serving a measurable sustainable and inclusive finance objective, purchased by 50 different investment funds and institutional investors. Symbiotics is a registered asset manager in Switzerland, a registered investment adviser in the United Kingdom, and has further office presence in Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore and South Africa, regrouping more than 135 employees worldwide.
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