SINGAPORE, 6 March 2019 – IIX – a global organization dedicated to building a more inclusive world through innovative finance and support for impact enterprises – has announced partnering with the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the Women’s Livelihood BondTM Program (WLB2). The WLB2 is a US$100M bond series empowering one million underserved women in Asia with sustainable livelihoods. The WLB2 will be sold in three tranches. With the support from the Australian government, the first bond in the WLB2 series is on track to launch Q2 2019. Other partners include DBS Bank, Shearman & Sterling LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP, and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.
The Women’s Livelihood BondsTM are part of IIX’s Social Sustainability BondsTM – innovative financial instruments which pool together a group of impact enterprises to issue a collective bond. These bonds differ from Social Impact Bonds as they mobilize private sector capital to generate positive social impact, offer financial returns independent of social outcomes, and are able to be listed on both social and traditional stock exchanges. IIX’s proprietary impact assessments measure the social impact and financial viability of the borrowers beforehand, ensuring greater accountability for investors. Such bonds are important given the large-scale private investment needed to bridge the SDG funding gaps. The first such bond – Women’s Livelihood BondTM (WLB1) – was issued and listed on the Singapore Exchange in 2017, making it the first publicly listed impact investing instrument to place women front and center of capital markets. The 4-year bond is paying a coupon of 5.65% to its investors.
The World Bank, U.N. Women, and the Small Industries Development Bank of India announced in 2019 the launch of a “Women’s Livelihood Bond” in India, which is in fact a Social Impact Bond, a philanthropic instrument and not related to IIX’s trademarked Women’s Livelihood BondTM.
Durreen Shahnaz, CEO and Founder of IIX, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Australia’s DFAT who share our vision to drive women’s empowerment in Asia and beyond. Our Women’s Livelihood BondsTM demonstrate that we can do this while unlocking untapped private investment. In order to grow the impact investing market, we must all move beyond a reliance on the good will of philanthropic investors and start to provide attractive financial products that engage traditional private sector investors.”