Landmark Women's Livelihood Bond Fully Funded
5 July 2017 at 1:47 pm
The Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) has successfully closed a landmark $8 million Women’s Livelihood Bond (WLB) that is expected to impact the lives of more than 385,000 women across Southeast Asia.
The bond is described as the world’s first impact investing instrument with a dual focus on social and financial returns to be listed on a stock exchange.
IIX said the closing of the Women’s Livelihood Bond was “a landmark achievement” for the impact investment market, “demonstrating that impact investment products can achieve scale, transparency and liquidity”.
“This bond is the first financial instrument that truly connects Wall Street with the backstreets of our communities – now that is exciting,” Founder Durreen Shahnaz said.
The bond, which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, is set to increase credit access, improve market linkages and enhance goods and services for women in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“The world’s first multi-country and multi-sector, gender-lens investing instrument has been developed in strong partnership with players across the private, public and philanthropic sectors,” IIX said.
IIX partnered with two Australian funders – The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and ANZ Bank.
“Our sincere thanks to our partners – DBS Bank, USAID, Australian DFAT, the Rockefeller Foundation, Shearman & Sterling, Hogan Lovells, Japan Research Institute, Clinton Global Initiative and ANZ Bank in playing an integral part as IIX created this new vehicle,” Shahnaz said.
In April 2017 Shahnaz was one of four worldwide entrepreneurs who received the International Business for Peace Award in Oslo.
Shahnaz received the award for her work in spearheading the transformation of the way financial and capital markets work, focusing on purpose and maximising impact.
Her work in IIX, which she founded in 2009, is said to have positively impacted 10 million lives to date.
Shahnaz was also the first Bangladeshi woman to work on Wall Street and to graduate from the renowned Wharton School of Business.
Her first entrepreneurial venture was in 1999 when she began an e-commerce company that connected rural artisans worldwide to an online global marketplace with oneNest. After growing and selling oneNest, she continued her pursuit of sustainable growth and equitable markets by founding IIX.
“Impact investing has been growing rapidly in recent years and I am honored to be recognised as an innovator at the forefront of this movement,” Shahnaz said.
Shahnaz has already established a IIX chapter in Taiwan, India, USA and Laos. The IIX chapters provide training, tools and inspiration to empower current and future generations to participate in impact investing.