Trust your MIV
The microfinance industry has come through a painful adolescence and emerged stronger and more professional, a fact reflected by the substantial increase in the number of global funds that invest in microfinance institutions. However, until now there has been a lack of comparable and reliable analytical data available to enable investors to make an informed choice. The specialised rating agency MicroRate, with the support of LuxFLAG and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, has just launched the Beta version of LuminisTM, the first online analytical platform on microfinance funds.
The platform offers a tool called PRSM, that assesses the performance, risk, social, and management component of microfinance investment funds. The social component is particularly difficult to evaluate for investors who want to invest sustainably. This component may better understood with the implementation of measurable standards.
“MIVs are really specific in terms of their structure and their investment targets”, says Sachin Vankalas from LuxFLAG. “Worldwide there are approximately 100 MIVs with 7 billion USD of assets; more than 50% of microfinance assets are concentrated in Luxembourg. The investment targets are really typical and the Microfinance Institutions are located almost all over the world in mainly developing countries. Given the nature of these MIVs and their different legal structure and operating systems, microfinance funds are really different than any other investment fund.” Based on the information compiled in Luminis, investors can now catch up on their planned investment.
So far, basic profiles of over 80 MIVs have been registered in the Beta Version of Luminis. Users can also preview samples of detailed fund profiles and reports that will be part of the full-release version of the site that is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2012.
“The main difference between any other data service and Luminis is basically that the Luminis data is analysed by specialists”, underlines Vankalas. “The data is reported by the MIVs that agree to provide information to Luminis which is assessed internally by MicroRate and Luminis experts. The platform is about clarity and quality of data.” LuxFLAG contributed to the platform by making its professional network available to MicroRate. EK