Already present in major microfinance hubs and investment centers on four continents, BlueOrchard will further expand its regional presence in the Caucasus.
Since the opening of its Peru office in Lima in 2006, BlueOrchard has continually enhanced its proximity to both microfinance institutions and investors. The establishment of an additional investment center in the Caucasus is therefore but an additional step to foster close relationships with important stakeholders ranging from microfinance institutions and networks to regulators and Central Banks. “Our flagship product, the BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund, has currently deployed close to a quarter of its assets to the Caucausus region”, states Peter A. Fanconi, BlueOrchard’s Chief Executive Officer. “It seems only natural to have a local presence in this region in the interest of both investees and investors.” I
n his capacity of Chief Credit Officer and Head of the Investment Team, Chuck Olson, CFA, adds that “microfinance, just like traditional banking, is a business based on close relationships between the banker and the banked. In order to become trusted partners of the microfinance institutions we serve, our investment officers need to be within the same time zone and to be available for meetings whenever a microfinance institution or a regulator calls on them.”
At present, BlueOrchard invests in 14 countries in the region ranging from Georgia itself to Armenia and Tajikistan, so Tblisi seems like an evident choice of strategic location. “The Georgian government has been lauded for its clear stance in the fight against corruption since independence, has invested massively in new infrastructure and put in place a sound regulatory framework, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the country currently ranks 9th in the World Bank global ranking of Ease of Doing Business index”, adds Peter A. Fanconi. “We have repeatedly met with the local authorities and are convinced that this region bears important potential for future economic growth and prosperity.”
BlueOrchard has put a clear strategy in place to build a strong team in the Tblisi office around experienced investment professionals some of whom have previously covered the region out of BlueOrchard’s Bishkek office. Widely praised for BlueOrchard’s rigorous state-of-the-art investment process, Chuck Olson is well aware that procedures are brought to life by the people who apply them. His final words on the subject? “We are delighted to see that our investment officers are looking forward to being in close proximity to their clients and to one another, and are pleased to be able to recruit additional staff to pursue our mission, which is to contribute to building inclusive financial systems worldwide while providing financial returns to investors and social impact in emerging and frontier economies.”
BlueOrchard Finance S.A. was founded in 2001 as the first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments worldwide. To this day, the company has deployed in excess of USD 2bn in loans to microfinance institutions, providing access to microcredit to over 30 million individuals across 50 countries.
Investors in BlueOrchard-managed funds include private and institutional investors, supranational institutions as well as renowned foundations. The company employs highly experienced staff with backgrounds in traditional and development finance including 24 investment professionals in Geneva, Zurich, Luxembourg, Lima, Phnom Penh, Bishkek and Nairobi.