TIAA-CREF Makes $40 Million Investment in Developing World Markets Microfinance ...

Feb 2009
New York, February, 24 2009 - TIAA-CREF, the leading provider of retirement savings products and services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields, today announced a $40 million investment in Developing World Markets Microfinance Equity Fund I (“Fund”).

In 2006, TIAA-CREF created a $100 million Global Microfinance Investment Program (GMIP) to invest in selected Microfinance Institutions (MFI’s) worldwide and this new investment continues that commitment.

"Investments in MFI’s remains attractive in this economy, with many institutions still profitable and growing," said Scott Budde, Managing Director, head of the Social and Community Investment Department and manager of the Global Microfinance Investment Program GMIP. "From an investment standpoint, this means that some MFI’s can deliver competitive returns to investors while simultaneously improving the lives of low income individuals in developing countries. We believe that these types of double bottom line investment strategies are more important today than ever, given global economic conditions and difficult credit markets."

TIAA-CREF joins other investors to form a $82 million fund that aims to alleviate poverty through the provision of equity capital to microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world which lend to low-income individuals and families. The Fund contributes to the $200 million that DWM Asset Management LLC, the investment manager of the fund, is now managing in microfinance-related assets.

Formed in September 2006, the GMIP is managed by TIAA-CREF's Social and Community Investing Department, which works on the development of new socially oriented products, oversees the screening methodology of social screened funds, helps formulate policies around key social issues and manages community investment programs. At inception, the organization committed GMIP to invest $100 million by the fall of 2010 in a range of microfinance assets.

TIAA-CREF’s Social & Community Investing department was created in May 2006 to focus on a series of investment programs and oversee the screening methodology used by the CREF Social Choice Account and the TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Funds. Other recent advancements in the social and community investing program include:

  • The creation of a $100 million Global Microfinance Investment Program, the first investment of its kind by a major American institutional investor (September 2006), with announced investments in ProCredit Holding AG and Catalyst Microfinance Investors.
  • The enhancement of CREF Social Choice Account including the addition of comprehensively screened international equities and enhanced environmental screening through KLD Research and Analytics. CREF Social Choice Account remains the largest comprehensively screened investment vehicle for individual investors in the US with $6.9 billion (12/31/2008) and over 430,000 investors.
  • The ongoing expansion of the firm's Corporate Social Real Estate program, which focuses on investments in affordable housing, workforce housing, urban and transit-oriented commercial development, and sustainable green development in underserved regions and market segments. As of December 2008, TIAA-CREF had an aggregate committed amount of approximately $582 million representing multiple investments in areas earmarked as Economic Development Areas and/or Lower to Moderate Income census tracts.

Source : Business wire

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