The change of Chair of Board of Directors at Incofin cvso affords continuity in innovation
During the Annual General Assembly, Incofin cvso, the Belgian impact investment fund, presented healthy growth figures for 2018 in addition to their latest innovative projects.
On the basis of these results, the Annual General Assembly approved a dividend of 2.5% for the eighth year in a row. This once again demonstrates that investments in sustainable projects are beneficial both for the planet and the investor, and that there is an urgent need for an adapted legal framework to further encourage such investments. The Annual General Meeting also bid farewell to Frans Verheeke, who transitioned the Chair to Anita Dewispelaere after serving for 26 years.
The Board of Directors of Incofin cvso presented healthy growth figures during the Annual General Meeting. Incofin cvso had a portfolio of 80 million euros at the end of 2018, representing a growth of 6.1 million euros over the year. “We not only support the future plans of 3.2 million micro-entrepreneurs in 30 countries since 2010,” notes former chairman Frans Verheeke, “but we have also offered our shareholders a stable dividend of 2.5%.”Incofin cvso’s capital grew in 2018 by 3 million euros to end the year at 45 million euros.
“These excellent results allow us to constantly tread new paths,” commented Loïc De Cannière, Managing Partner of Incofin Investment Management (Incofin IM), the operational partner of Incofin cvso. Incofin cvso pays out a “social dividend” of 100,000 euros every year in the form of technical assistance to local partner organizations to help develop their financial offer. In 2018, this support was awarded to three financial partners in Ivory Coast, Kenya and Haiti. “In addition to our traditional microfinance, we want to use new tools to help local sustainable entrepreneurs,” De Cannière explained. “For example, we have set up insurance against natural disasters in Nicaragua to better protect vulnerable farmers against the effects of climate change.” Incofin cvso desires to increase their investments in sectors such as agriculture, energy, education, health and housing.
Change of Chair
These changes will be safely led over the next few years by Anita Dewispelaere, of the newly appointed Chair, succeeding Frans Verheeke, who has served as Chairman for the past 26 years. Ms Dewispelaere has been a shareholder of Incofin cvso since 2015 and possesses extensive experience with ArcelorMital, among other corporations. “I am particularly pleased that I can take over the chairmanship now, at a time when we are launching innovative projects and have completely aligned the impact indicators of our funds manager (Incofin IM) with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Thanks to our new online platform we can closely follow the results of our investments and demonstrate, like never before, the concrete effect of our efforts in the social, ecological and financial fields.”
Plea for an adapted legislative framework
On the fringes of the Annual General Meeting, a plea made was once again to make improve private investors’ ability to access impact investment funds in Belgium. The very restrictive Belgian legislation (which, among other regulations, obliges private investors to invest a minimum amount of 100,000 to 250,000 euros, depending on the financial product) deters interested investors and forces Belgian managers of impact investment funds to establish their funds in accordance with foreign law in countries such as Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany, that offer the appropriate legislation. A bill proposing to align the Belgian rules with those of the surrounding countries was introduced into the Chamber at the end of 2018, but will not be voted on during this parliament. “We hope that the new majority will pick up this proposal again after the elections, so that Belgium can remain a trendsetter in sustainable investments in the future,” Anita Dewispelaere said.
About Incofin cvso
Incofin cvso is a Belgian impact investment fund that invests in financial institutions in developing countries through loans and capital investments. Incofin cvso focuses on financial inclusion at the bottom of the pyramid. The fund currently supports 3.2 million motivated micro-entrepreneurs through 51 local partner organisations in 30 countries. It is a cooperative fund open to small investors. More information can be found on www.incofincvso.be