Social Investors

Promoting Responsible Investment in the Inclusive Finance Sector

The Social Investor Working Group (SIWG) is open to all investors and asset managers who wish to advance responsible investment in financial inclusion.  The group meets once a year in person and holds monthly webinars throughout the year. 

SIWG members also form sub-groups that spend months collaboratively developing and testing new guidelines and tools for the investor community.  These increase transparency and efficiency in the evaluation and reporting of social and environmental performance ― including client protection, as well as for SFDR and other regulatory reporting obligations.

The SIWG is led by Emmanuelle Javoy of Symbiotics, Frank Streppel of Triodos Investment Management, and Edouard Sers of Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation.

Symbiotics Logo
Triodos Investment Management Logo
Foundation Grameen Credit Agricole logo

The activities of the SIWG are funded by the generous contributions of the Government of Luxembourg (Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and Ministry of Finance), as well as SPTF annual membership fees.

For more information, please email Ally Ryder or Jurgen Hammer.

We Invite You to Use and Test Our Latest Guidelines and Tools

For us, by us ― our working group continually produces new resources for our investors, investment advisors, asset managers/owners, and DFIs to promote harmonization within the sector. 

Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) Tools

Client Protection Pathway  Tools

The SIWG/FIEC Meeting Materials

We were delighted that so many of you could join us at the 2023 SIWG/FIEC Meeting in Luxembourg on June 8-9! 

Financial Inclusion Equity Council has joined Cerise+SPTF!

Financial Inclusion Equity Council (FIEC) has transitioned its secretariat from the Center for Financial Inclusion to Cerise+SPTF. Under the new arrangement, FIEC will work closely with Cerise+SPTF’s Social Investor Working Group to further deepen collaboration and discussion among investors in identifying new opportunities for inclusive growth through financial services in a world of increasing disruption and uncertainty.

Current SIWG priorities

  1. At the SPTF Annual Meeting in Paris in October 2022, the Social Investor Working Group gathered around the idea that it was now time to move to concrete implementation of this call for action, and make client protection a systematic fundamental piece of the investment process. The CP Accelerating Action Group (CPAAG) was thus launched with representatives from social investors interested in operationalizing client protection. This group developed guidelines for investors to take action on client protection in the investment process.

  2. In 2021, SPTF investor members created a sub working group to develop a harmonized way to address the reporting requirements under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), the European regulation introduced in 2020 to improve transparency in the market for sustainable investment products. The particular challenge for the financial inclusion sector – to strike the balance between compliance with this new regulation and its implementability in the specific context of investments in emerging economies and with often vulnerable end clients or customers – made the core value of SPTF membership particularly relevant because of the platform to develop shared learnings, assure constant coordination and a strong commitment to honest, transparent and meaningful evaluation and reporting.  

    Since its set up, the SFDR subgroup has seen constantly increasing participation and broadening scope of participating institutions. It meets in monthly webinars and has created a series of action groups working together on PAI development, proxy data options, minimum safeguards, integration of SFDR reporting into the updated ALINUS due diligence tool, but also levels of applicability and efficiency and quality of data collection. 

Past SIWG priorities and projects

  1. Evaluating client protection risks in fintech investments during due diligence and ongoing monitoring. SPTF and CDC Group partnered to develop a webinar series for investors to be held during October 2017 and June 2018.
  2. Aligning efforts with the broader impact investment sector. As part of the World Economic Forum’s initiative to accelerate impact measurement and management, SPTF led the work of an action group to develop guidance on integrating the voice of all affected stakeholders into impact investments and activities of organizations. The work “Engaging All Affected Stakeholders” is available here. The Impact Management Project is hosting this work. SPTF has also partnered with the GIIN to develop the Financial Inclusion theme of Navigating Impact, and with UNPRI to help develop the Financial Inclusion area of the Impact Investing Market Map. The alignment work also includes coordinating with IRIS and GIIRS
  3. Assessing S&E performance SME finance to understand “state of practice” of S&E evaluation for FSPs financing SMEs, applicability of Universal Standards and SPI4, assess tools used by MIVs and DFIs, identify existing gaps, and provide recommendations where guidance is needed.
  4. Harmonizing loan agreements covenants in support of responsible microfinance (“reasonable covenants 2.0“), preventing over-indebtedness (Investment Managers guidelines on over-indebtedness), managing social outcomes (discussions integrated with the SPTF Outcomes Working Group, pricing transparency (discussions integrated with Data Platform pilot), Balanced return expectations & responsible exits in equity investments.
  5. On 2 May 2022, Bloomberg Storylines published a video feature story, The Dark Side of Microfinance, which highlighted abusive collection practices and other forms of client exploitation among microfinance providers. In response, Cerise+SPTF wrote an open letter to the reporters of that story, setting forth the ways the Universal Standards safeguard against such practices, and have been doing for 10 years. Read our letter here
  6. Reasonable covenants during COVID. Responding to demand from investors, the SIWG created a sub-group to review reasonable covenants during the COVID pandemic. Read the briefs from the group’s calls, which outline the group’s purpose and explores its potential outcomes: July 2020; September 2020.  Read the latest version of the covenants from the group here, published in September 2020.
  7. SIWG focused on how to advance client protection practices after the Smart Campaign closes. The end of the Campaign provides an opportunity to rethink several processes, and investors have been particluarly interested in rethinking the Campaign’s endorsement process. While the group agreed that endorsement should continue, many believe it could be strengthened with increased transparency about endorsers’ actions to improve client protection practices. To address this, the SIWG created a sub-group to begin discussing these potential changes. View the sub-group’s draft concept note here (published November 2020). 
  8. In September 2021, Cerise+SPTF launched a call for action amongst investors and development finance institutions to engage these key stakeholders on client protection risks. The aim was to create global uptake on the existing work – to create transparency, comparability and share examples of successful client protection implementation. This call for action is materialized through the Joint Statement, and counts over 40 signatories representing the industry as MIVs, donors and networks.