ABP commits $75m to microfinance fund

BlueOrchard Private Equity, halfway to its fundraising target of $220m, will invest in partnerships with microfinance organisations throughout the developing world.

Dutch pension giant ABP has committed $75 million (€51 million) to commercial microfinance adviser BlueOrchard’s debut private equity fund targeting microfinance institutions across the developing world.

The €200 billion pension fund’s investment in BlueOrchard Private Equity has pushed the fund to $111 million, roughly halfway to the Geneva-based firm’s closing target of $200 million, according to a statement from BlueOrchard.

The fund will be invested in minority stakes in microfinance organisations in several different emerging markets, with BlueOrchard advisers playing an active governance role.

ABP had already invested $40 million in BlueOrchard debt funds since 2005.

Backers of microfinance private equity funds say that they allow institutional investors small-scale exposure to emerging markets under the banner of socially conscious investing.

In February, ASA and Sequoia-backed Catalyst Microfinance Investors held a final close on $125 million after roughly three years of fundraising, claiming to have raised the largest collective equity capital commitment ever to microfinance.

Catalyst counted ABP and US financial services organisation TIAA-CREF among its limited partner base.