The Swiss government is supporting microfinance boutique Symbiotics as it joins forces with UBS to launch an impact investing fund.
The SME Finance – Loans for Growth fund launched by the Swiss impact investment firm will be offered to the UBS client base. It will look to provide loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging and frontier markets.
The fund is a public-private partnership with its inbuilt guarantee of 10% ($5 million) co-funded by UBS and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The four-year closed-end structure launches with $50 million and is managed by Christophe Favre, head of asset management at Symbiotics.
Following growing client demands for measurable social impact, the fund aims to fund the ‘missing middle’, focusing on financing local banks and local financial companies specialised in the SME sector.
The three partners have agreed to produce annual independent impact measurement reports documenting the social returns.
Commenting on the launch, business development director at Symbiotics, Valérie Dujardin said: ‘Symbiotics is very pleased to launch this first product with UBS and SECO, providing impact investors with a tangible example of double-bottom line investments and creating value for their portfolios while contributing to the advancement of sustainable development goals.’
On the initiative, head of investment products and services at UBS, Mike Stewart, said: ‘We strongly believe in the ability for investment capital to generate positive social and environmental impact alongside financial return.
‘Symbiotics and SECO have supported us by providing their expertise and commitment to make Loans for Growth possible.’