Fund of the year - private debt: NN-FMO Emerging Markets Loans Fund

The NN-FMO Emerging Markets Loans Fund has invested over $400 million in 53 participation loans, at its peak supporting over 11,000 jobs and avoiding more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually, according to NN Investment Partners (NN IP).

The fundĀ invests in emerging markets loans in the institutional market space in Europe and Asia.

The partnership between NN IP and Dutch development bank subsidiary FMO Investment Management (FMO IM) focuses on creating jobs to reduce inequalities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The investment programme provides funding in the energy, agribusiness and energy sectors. For instance, in 2020, the fund invested $10 million in Vistaar, an Indian non-banking financial institution that provides loans to those people with insufficient documentation to use banks. Other investments in the year included financing sustainable cocoa sourcing programs, renewable energy projects and providing microfinance funds to women.

Since its launch in 2017, the fund has generated a gross return of 4.58% as of the end of 2020.

The fund focuses primarily on the UN Sustainable Development Goals of:

  • Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8)
  • Reduced inequalities (SDG 10)
  • Climate action (SDG 13).

The fund also monitors its impact on:

  • No poverty (SDG 1)
  • Zero hunger (SDG 2)
  • Gender equality (SDG 5)
  • Renewable and affordable energy (SDG 7)
  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9)
  • Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).

NN IP client portfolio manager, Ulla Fetzer, said in her award entry: "It is both NN IP's and FMO IM's belief that in order [for the world] to achieve the SDGs in the next decade, public and private parties should pool resources and work together.

"Deepening relationships into partnerships enables the mobilisation of third-party funds and the creation of new investment opportunities to increase our joint impact in emerging markets."