How Have Market Challenges Affected Microfinance Investment Funds?
Despite the global economic recession, total assets of the 10 largest microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) grew in 2011, reaching US$4 billion. During the year, MIVs continued to face many challenges, including credit risk in several markets and lower returns, but the overall investment market was more active than in 2010, with renewed capital appetite from most microfinance services providers and more focus on underserved markets.
Total assets of the 10 largest MIVs grew by 7.2 percent in 2011, above the 4.1 percent growth rate in 2010, but still below precrisis levels (e.g., 31 percent in 2008 and 23 percent in 2009). This increase in growth rates is mainly driven by the increased microfinance institution demand for capital, particularly for local currency loans. The top 10 MIVs remained largely the same as in 2010, with one fund from the top 15 joining the top 10 grouping in 2011 (Triodos Fair Share Fund). Most of the top 10 MIVs are funded by private capital from retail and institutional investors.
At least five new microfinance funds were created in 2011, including two for US$95 million in assets or more, such as the responsAbility Financial Inclusion fund and the Developing World Markets Microfinance Fund-J, the first commercial MIV designed for the Japanese retail market in March 2011. Most of the new funds are managed by existing microfinance investment managers.