Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) has closed its $8 million Women’s Livelihood Bond (WLB), a debt security designed to impact the lives of over 385,000 women across Southeast Asia.
IIX also announced on Wednesday (July 5), its plan to list the bonds on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX). A total of 5.65 per cent of WLB are due on 2021.
“This innovative bond is 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 in its statement.
Founded in 2009 by Durreen Shannaz, IIX is a Singapore-based social enterprises (SE) investor that facilitates social enterprises accessing financial capital, allowing them to expand more rapidly.
IIX touted WLB as the world’s first multi-country and multi-sector, gender-lens investing instrument. It has been developed in partnership with players across the private, public and philanthropic sectors.
For the vehicle, IIX has partnered with DBS Bank, USAID, Australian DFAT, the Rockefeller Foundation, Shearman & Sterling, Hogan Lovells, Japan Research Institute, Clinton Global Initiative, and ANZ Bank.
WLB is expected to unlock capital for impact enterprises and microfinance institutions that are part of the sustainable livelihoods spectrum for women in Southeast Asia.Through WLB, women will have access to credit, market linkages, natural resources, and to affordable goods and services.
This will, in turn, help them transition from subsistence to sustainable livelihoods and redefine the dominant narrative from viewing women as victims to recognizing them as solutions to development, change and progress.
Once listed on SGX, WLB is predicted to increase credit access, improve market linkages and enhance goods and services for women in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“The closing of the Women’s Livelihood Bond is a landmark achievement for the impact investment market, demonstrating that impact investment products can achieve scale, transparency and liquidity,” Shannaz said.
She added “the bond is the first financial instrument that truly connects Wall Street with the backstreets of our communities – now that is exciting!”