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Azure Partners Launches Fund of Microfinance Private Equity Funds

-Capturing high growth in emerging markets with a vast social impact-

jack lowe vincent oswalIn response to strong investor interest in private equity in microfinance following the launch of the Azure Global Microfinance Fund of Funds, Azure Partners announces that they are launching their second fund of funds targeting the microfinance industry: Azure Microfinance Private Equity Fund of Funds (“the Fund”) in order to capture high growth in emerging markets, investing in microfinance private equity funds, creating a vast social impact.

The Fund will adopt a four steps investment strategy aimed at giving investors access to a fast growing, de-correlated industry, with low volatility. All of this in a vehicle which spreads risk in terms of geographic and diversity of underlying investments. Funds under management will be capped at $100m for a term of 10 years.  

The investment strategy will focus on:

Worldwide allocationDiversified investment across regions with an active geographical
Local Fund ManagersAbility to identify investment opportunities in the cluster of fund
managers, while partnering with experienced EU or US  based     fund managers
1st or 2nd fundCapturing high growth of first movers and providing more  favourable conditions to investors
Small fundsTargeting smaller Microfinance Institutions with higher growth potential
and participating actively in the funds’ Advisory Committees

The Fund will invest in 10-12 private equity funds, targeting mostly smaller funds, investing in specific regions or countries. The Fund is targeting a net IRR of 15-20%.  

Jack Lowe, Co-Founder and Chairman of Azure Partners commented: “The microfinance sector is currently growing at around 20 – 30 % per annum.  There is a track record of positive returns each year since inception for all debt funds and this has been maintained since the year 2000. This impressive track record makes this the ideal time to launch a private equity fund of funds. Following the launch of our first fund, we are extremely well placed to leverage our position in the industry in order to provide attractive investment opportunities for private equity investors. We are confident that the fund will generate both solid financial and social returns to investors.’’

Azure Partners, the Swiss based investment house founded by Jack Lowe and Vincent Oswald, previously of Blue Orchard Finance, launched the first global microfinance fund of funds – the Azure Global Microfinance Fund in October 2011. This fund has so far made several investments, in addition to signing a worldwide distribution agreement with a global European bank.

Co-Founders Chairman Jack Lowe and Managing Director Vincent Oswald are experts in this sector, bringing with them 10 years of Microfinance on the ground experience in more than 45 countries, 20 years of Private Equity fund management in developed and emerging markets combined with solid entrepreneurial backgrounds.  During the last 8 years, they have co-invested with 74 microfinance funds, 36 fund managers, 10 microfinance networks and 10 development banks. Privileged with a unique global view and database on most microfinance funds in the market, they have one of the longest and most successful track records in the microfinance investment world.  
Microfinance is the provision of basic financial services such as micro loans, deposits and micro-insurance products to people with low-income levels that are excluded from the mainstream financial world. It is one of the fastest growing global asset classes, currently serving more than 150 million people in over 50 countries, representing $40 billion of assets under management with a projected yearly growth of between 20%-30%. There are more than 120 funds active in this market providing healthy returns to investors and a vast social impact. 40 of these funds are Private Equity funds.

For further information, please visit: www.azure-partners.com, or contact:

Jack Lowe / Vincent Oswald     +41 22 361 71 89
Azure Partners     [email protected]

John West / Teresa Towner     
Tavistock Communications    +44 (0)20 7920 3150