Environmental Finance's Sustainable Debt Awards 2024

Award for innovation - bond structure (social bond): Khan Bank/Symbiotics

Khan Bank and impact investment platform Symbiotics secured the social bond structure innovation award for the landmark $10 million gender-focused social bond secured by the Mongolian lender in April 2023.

The bond is the first in Mongolia to dedicate its proceeds to financing products to address gender disparities. In particular, it will be used to support female borrowers – including through the launch of new female entrepreneur-focused loan products.

One of the Sustainable Debt Awards judges praised the bond for its focus on the "very important" issuer of gender disparities in the region. Meanwhile, another judge was impressed by its "very innovative" impact narrative as well as the "credible setup and mobilisation of capital" arranged by Symbiotics.

The bond was listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) through the Symbiotics-sponsored Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Bonds (MSME Bonds) platform, which opened up the transaction to European impact investor Impact Asset Management (I-AM) to invest in its through its €613 million ($668 million) Vision Microfinance fund.

Eugene TanInternational investors often face restrictions and complications in accessing local debt financing products. The Symbiotics platform, however, helps to make such deals accessible to such investors.

"We are very pleased to work with our long-term partner Khan Bank and enable them to work towards closing the gender gap among their clients and in a wider sense, for the entire female population of Mongolia," Symbiotics regional manager East Asia Eugene Tan told Environmental Finance.

The 'gender' bond follows Khan Bank issuing the first green bonds from a Mongolian issuer, according to Environmental Finance Data. Khan Bank – the largest commercial bank in the country – issued a $60 million green bond in March 2023.

Deal highlights

Issuer: Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Bonds (on behalf of Khan Bank)
Issue size: $10 million
Maturity date: 31 October 2024
Coupon: 6.4%
Use of proceeds: Employment generation; Socio-economic advancement and empowerment
External reviewer: DNV