ImpactAlpha, December 10 – If “three’s a trend,” the publicly traded bonds designed to support women’s livelihoods from Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange, or IIX, represent a clear signal.
The third bond in IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond Series raised $27.7 million from Nuveen, BlueOrchard, Pathfinder NZ, Hong Kong-based family office Grace Harmony and others.
Proceeds from the bond will be invested in enterprises across South and Southeast Asia helping 180,000 women rebound from COVID’s economic impacts.
IIX announced plans in 2014 for the first publicly traded Women’s Livelihood Bond to galvanize capital from the $106 trillion global bond market to support income opportunities and poverty alleviation for low-income women in Asia’s emerging markets. It took three years to raise $8 million—much longer than expected as skeptical investors sought additional risk-reduction provisions. The second bond ($12 million) and now the third, however, closed in quick succession.
IIX’s Durreen Shahnaz said the firm’s persistence has “taught the world’s leading institutions how to create a new financial product that works for the 99%.”
She added, “Our astounding success is due to the fact that we dare to do what no one else is doing by valuing women and making them a part of the global financial system.”
IIX is aiming to raise $150 million and impact three million women through the series.
USAID provided a loan guarantee to soften the perceived risk of the first bond. For bond three, IIX made a first-loss investment through a new initiative, its Women’s Catalyst Fund, which aims to drive more capital to underserved women in the COVID recovery.