SocGen launches $50m ‘positive impact’ bond on Italian exchange

Positive Impact Finance is a new set of sustainable investment principles

French banking giant Société Générale has launched what it describes as the first Positive Impact Finance product for retail investors – a $50m bond listed on the social and green bond segment of the Italian Stock Exchange.

Positive Impact Finance is a set of sustainable investment principles backed by the United Nations and the French government that launched earlier this year.

SocGen and 19 other leading global banks and investors drew up the principles as part of the UNEP Finance Initiative Positive Impact Working group.

The Principles do not prescribe a single method for achieving positive impact, but they require that appraisal processes and methodologies be transparent.

At the time of the launch, the bank’s Deputy CEO Severin Cabannes called the Principles “ambitious yet practical”.

And now it has launched one of the first products based around the Positive Impact Finance principles.

The issue will be listed on July 6 on the Borsa Italiana bond platform EuroMOT segment and its green and social bond list.

A statement says the bond will contribute to the Positive Impact Finance programme, and that it will be monitored by Société Générale’s environmental and social risk management team and ESG research firm Vigeo Eiris.It will deliver a coupon of 1% in year one and two and at maturity a variable coupon linked to the performance of the equity ethical index Finvex Ethical Efficient Europe 30 Price.

Elsewhere, a new impact investment trust accessible to retail investors is to launch on the UK’s Social Stock Exchange.

The Impact Investment Trust, managed by Swiss-based impact specialist asset manager Obviam AG, is reportedly looking to raise around £116m and will hold
10-15 locally managed private equity investment funds, each investing in small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing economies.

It will invest in ‘high impact sectors’ across sectors including education, healthcare and access to financial services.

The Impact Investment Trust will be listed both on the London Stock Exchange and the Social Stock Exchange segment of NEX. Investec is acting as sponsor and broker.

A prospectus outlining the Impact Investment Trust’s model says the current private equity impact funds landscape is dominated by development finance institutions (DFIs) and its offering will be the first time an investment trust will offer individuals investors the opportunity to invest in the same vehicle as DFIs.

The Obviam team has managed the Swiss government’s development finance portfolio since 1998 and the Swiss DFI, the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets since 2005.