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Women’s World Banking Capital Partners, LP
In order to meet the needs of the one billion women globally who lack access to financial products and services, financial institutions need capital from investors who understand that investing in these “unbanked” women can provide both a social and financial return: a gender lens investor.
Women’s World Banking Capital Partners is a private equity limited partnership that makes direct equity investments in women-focused financial institutions. This investment strategy builds on our belief that investors can influence institutions to ensure that women are part of their growth strategy and future profitability. This venture, with more than US$50 million under management seeks to demonstrate what Women’s World Banking has long maintained: providing women with access to financial services is profitable business for banks, while contributing to the economic growth and welfare of families and communities.
The equity fund has a ten-year life and seeks minority stakes in its investees. Portfolio companies view Women’s World Banking as a trusted advisor that brings a rich and unique expertise in serving the low-income women’s market. The fund will seek to continue this role through board representation. The equity fund works with institutions to ensure they are reporting on both financial and social metrics, including disaggregation of data by gender, and helps develop strategies to improve performance.
Why gender lens investing?
Women’s World Banking has long promoted the role investors can play in helping microfinance institutions stay mission-focused. It has been instrumental in brokering capital markets introductions for its 35 network members in 24 emerging markets, particularly as they sought capital as part of the transition from non-profit to regulated bank. Women’s World Banking has always advocated that its network members pursue investment from socially responsible investors who were mission-aligned. The creation of Women’s World Banking Capital Partners moves Women’s World Banking from advocacy to investing directly in financial institutions, providing much-needed capital for growth and product expansion. Technical support from Women’s World Banking encourages investees to offer a broad range of products such as savings, insurance and pensions to meet women’s financial needs at all stages of their lives.
The equity fund offers Women World’s Banking another powerful tool to achieve its goal of ensuring the largest number of un- and under-banked women are served well with a full suite of financial products and services.
Women’s World Banking Capital Partners is co-managed by WWB Asset Management and Triodos Investment Advisory & Services of the Netherlands. WWB Asset Management is led by Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO of Women’s World Banking and CJ Juhasz, Chief Investment Officer. Both play a key role in the management of the equity fund. Triodos is one of the earliest—and now leading—investors in microfinance and impact investing globally. Women’s World Banking Capital Partners is the only specifically women-focused and women-managed microfinance equity fund in the market today.
The 27 investors in the Fund represent a mix of development finance institutions, private pension funds, microfinance investment vehicles and individual investors. The equity fund is particularly pleased to welcome nine women investors as Limited Partners. In effect, it serves as a platform for women to invest in the empowerment of other women.