This year marked the first in-person annual meeting since 2019—and it was a joy to be together again. 



Digital Financial Services Standards
The Digital Financial Services Working Group reviewed the draft standards, debated outstanding questions, and moved the draft towards finalization. They also discussed plans for the DFS standards’ implementation, including pilot testing and ways to raise awareness and drive uptake.
Social Investors Working Group / Outcomes Working Group

Client Protection Pathway

The Social Investor Working Group explored ways to define an action plan for a big boost to the client protection standards and pathway: How can we, the community of signatories of the Joint Statement and other like-minded investors, collectively make the Client Protection Pathway into the global industry tool for responsible client management?

SFDR Data Collection

The Social Investor Working Group also did a deep dive into SFDR, working to establish guidelines for data providers on investor needs and requirements related to SFDR reporting, in order to improve coordination and optimize the data offer in the market.


Apuntes de la sesión

Outcomes Working Group Meeting

Cerise+SPTF presented ideas for a harmonized set of indicators to be included in an outcomes module for the SPI tool. The group will discussed whether these proposed indicators are relevant and useful for both financial service providers (to understand and better serve their clients) and for related stakeholders (e.g., investors, networks, regulators) to understand the impact of financial services on clients.

Training for Technical Assistance Providers offered by CERISE: How to Accompany Financial Service Providers on an Environmental Performance Journey

For investors, technical assistance providers, and networks interested in encouraging environmental performance management among financial service providers.This session focused on:

      • Making the argument for Environmental Performance Management (EPM)
      • Sharing main concepts, standards, and tools for EPM assessment
      • Supporting financial service providers in developing an environmental strategy

Apuntes de la sesión 


Ten Years On: Some Reflections on Our History
It has been 10 years now since the first edition of the Universal Standards was formally launched. The industry since then has undergone transformational changes, most notably through the rapid adoption of digital technologies. Cerise+SPTF are marking this 10th anniversary year with a stock-taking about the effects of social and environmental performance management on the entire financial inclusion value chain: financial service providers, social investors, regulators, and of course clients themselves.


Laurent Biddiscombe

Deputy Executive Director – SDG Finance, AFD

Laura Foose

Executive Director of SPTF

Cécile Lapenu,

Executive Director of CERISE

“We are therefore especially grateful for the help of our partners, such as CERISE and SPTF which we have been supporting for 8 years now, and which are working daily on shaping a better environment for responsible finance.”

Laurent Biddiscombe

“The Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious by design. That is their function—not to fine tune around the margins, not to describe the world we think we can deliver, but to describe the world we can all agree that we really want. It may not happen even if you say it out loud. But it definitely won’t if you don’t.”

Laura Foose

Outcomes: Exploring the Connection Between Investment in Social and Environmental Performance Management and Better Client Outcomes

In this session, experts on outcomes measurement and management shared what specific outcome indicators they use to understand changes in clients’ lives, how their thinking on indicators has evolved over time, and how financial service providers are applying insights from outcomes data to strategic decisions. We also debated some fundamental outcome questions, including the pros and cons of qualitative data, whether intermediate outcomes are the right ones to track, and defining what constitutes a “good” outcome.


Devin Olmack

Senior Associate, 60 Decibels

Lucia Spaggiari

Innovation Director, Microfinanza Rating (MFR)

Stephanie Beatriz Garcia Van Gool

Director, Impact Assessment and Strategic Development, BBVA Microfinance Foundation

Cecile Lapenu

Executive Director, CERISE

Amelia Greenberg

Deputy Director of SPTF (moderator)

“An important use of outcomes data is to learn how we can manage the negative outcome…In general, outcomes is a matter of improving. We use the data to understand how things could get better.”

Lucia Spaggiari

Strengthening Market Systems for Customer Protection and Benefit

Only through collective and coordinated action can we safeguard the stability and vitality of the inclusive finance sector. This session will start with an overview of the importance of the Client Protection Pathway, and then focus on the critical role that national associations and regulators play in promoting engagement and good practice by financial service providers. Cerise+SPTF will highlight their market systems work in Philippines, Egypt, Nicaragua, and Cambodia.


Vandy Phal

Secretary-General, Cambodian Microfnance Association

Mona Zulficar

Chair of the Egyptian Medium Small and Microfinance Federation (EMSMF)

Dr. Ahmed Abd El-gawad

Head of MSMEs Financing Regulatory Unit, Financial Regulatory Authority of Egypt

Mr. Sherif Lokman

Sub-Governor for Financial Inclusion, Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)

Sheyla Sobalvarro

Independent Consultant, former executive with Comisión Nacional de Microfnanzas (CONAMI) of Nicaragua

Allan Sicat

Executive Director of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines (MCPI)


Nitin Madan

Director of the Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Southeast Asia, SPTF


Strengthening market systems presentation

Market-Level Customer Empowerment Approaches

In this visioning workshop, speakers presented three different approaches to promoting customer empowerment at the market level, based on pilot testing underway in Nigeria, the Philippines, and Cambodia. This interactive session facilitated peer learning and reflection about the various levers and techniques to strengthen customer empowerment and to address specific points of disempowerment along a financial customer’s journey.


Lalaine Joyas

Independent consultant working with MCPI | Philippines

Vong Pheakyny

CMA | Cambodia

Adeluyi Olajide

Head, Agent Banking, FCMB | Nigeria

Anton Simanowitz

SPTF Consultant on Customer Empowerment

Apuntes de la sesión 

“With our agents, their real loyalty is not to any one company – it’s with the customer. The agents can and do give feedback to all the companies they work for about what will and won’t work for the agent’s family and friends. The agents actively advocate on behalf of the customer.”

Adeluyi Olajide (FCMB)

How to Mainstream Environmental Performance Management

What are the financial and non-financial products clients most need to achieve environmental goals, adapt to climate change, and take advantage of economic opportunities? This session featured case studies presented by experts from the field that have used green management to create benefits for financial service providers and their clients. The session will also increase awareness of the contents of Dimension 7 of the Universal Standards and the Green Index 3.0.


Christoph Jungfleisch

CEO and Founder of YAPU Solutions

Julie Torres-Szantyr

Capacity Building Manager, Solidarité Internationale pour le Développement et l’Investissement (SIDI)

Marion Allet

Head of Environment, CERISE (moderator)

Apuntes de la sesión 

“The four billion people who are the least responsible for climate change are the ones most affected by it.”

Christoph Jungfleisch
Ten Years From Now: Some Dreams for the Future

When Bill Gates was still running Microsoft out of his parents’ garage, he and his partners participated in a visioning exercise called “the big hairy audacious goal.” They came up with: Computing will no longer be limited to mainframes. In our lifetime, computers will become personal. Every person will have a personal computer, and all households and businesses will be run on personal computers. Not many people believed that was possible. Then again, not many people believed that social and environmental performance management for financial services could be defined, let alone embraced, let alone have impact. Ten years later, here we are. 


So what is the next big hairy audacious goal for inclusive finance? In this interactive closing plenary, we will ask each of you to share your hopes for what inclusive finance can achieve in the next ten years, and we will also share our ambitious goals in three key areas: empowerment of all customers, regulation that does not stop at protection but aims for better outcomes, and inclusion of the very hardest to reach.


Eric Duflos

Senior Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP

Apuntes de la sesión 

“My vision is that in ten years, every actor in the financial sector will be implementing the Universal Standards….We will no longer be hearing the questions of, “But is there a business case?” or “Does this apply to me?” Instead, everyone will just know they have to do it.”

Amelia Greenberg

Cerise+SPTF sincerely thanks Agence Française de Développement for sponsoring this event.

Visit our Flickr page for (amateur) photos from the September 28 and September 29 sessions.