EMPEA announces gender initiatives aimed at measuring and improving gender equality within the private capital industry

Washington DC, March 8 2019:

EMPEA, the global industry association for private capital in emerging markets, today announced its 2019 gender initiatives in conjunction with International Women’s Day. The initiatives will be led by the Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group of the EMPEA ESG Community. The Working Group is comprised of investment practitioners from EMPEA member firms who are committed to improving the representation of women within the emerging markets private capital industry (inclusive of private equity, private credit, and infrastructure and real assets strategies).

According to ground-breaking research released this week by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, in a report titled Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital, private equity and venture capital funds with gender-balanced senior investment teams generated 10 percent to 20 percent higher returns compared with funds that have a majority of male or female leaders. The study, which also analyzed companies receiving private equity and venture capital funding, found that portfolio companies with gender-diverse leadership teams also outperformed their less diverse peers by up to 25 percent.

“The IFC research, released in conjunction with International Women’s Day, moves the case for diversity within private equity and venture capital firms forward significantly by drawing an empirical link between gender balance in senior investment teams and returns,” said Laura Kemp-Pedersen, Co-Head of the EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group and Chief Marketing Officer at LeapFrog Investments. “By making diversity a business imperative, the role of private capital in emerging markets can be significantly accelerated to the benefit of investors, investees, and specifically women-led companies. The EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group is committed to playing a key role in highlighting the benefits of a gender-diverse industry and in creating tools to support member firms in their journey towards increased diversity.”

Preqin’s 2017 special report Women in Alternative Assets finds that private equity has the lowest percentage of female employees at 17.9 percent. Similarly, in private equity firms surveyed for KPMG’s 2019 Women in Alternative Investments Report, women represent only 7 percent and 13 percent of CEO- and CIO/PM-level leadership, respectively.

According to Jim Seymour, Co-Head of the EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group and Managing Partner of Pontefract Global Strategies, “The impact of women in the development and growth of emerging markets companies and economies is well recognized. It is important, therefore, that private capital investors and investment managers recruit, support, and promote more women into senior investment management positions to better position their firms for successful investments in those markets. The EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group will provide tools to assist those firms in doing so.”

EMPEA’s 2019 gender initiatives will focus on three key areas: 1) researching and reporting on the state of gender representation within fund managers; 2) developing a toolkit to assist fund managers with key challenges identified by the research; and, 3) introducing an awards program to recognize fund managers making significant progress towards improving gender representation at the firm and portfolio levels.

• The 2019 State of the Industry Survey on Gender in Emerging Markets Private Capital will canvass EMPEA’s network of private capital firms, including its 150+ fund manager members, on gender progress within their firms and investment portfolios. The research will both enable the measurement of progress in key areas over time and identify key challenges.

• The EMPEA Gender Progress Awards will seek to recognize fund managers who have achieved outstanding progress in their efforts towards gender parity. An independent panel of emerging markets private capital industry leaders will be appointed to select finalists. Both the judging panel and details of the awards will be announced during the IFC’s 21st annual Global Private Equity Conference in association with EMPEA (GPEC) to be held in Washington 14-15 May 2019.

• Key issues and trends identified through the 2019 survey will inform the content of the Gender in Emerging Markets Private Capital Toolkit, which will be developed to support fund managers in their efforts to increase gender representation within their firms.

The report, award program, and first stage of the toolkit will be launched during EMPEA’s October 2019 Sustainable Investing in Emerging Markets summit.

Kyoko Terada, Managing Director at EMPEA and head of Membership and Industry Partners, remarked, “EMPEA members manage more than USD5 trillion in assets across 130 countries; consequently, our community is poised to play a critical role in directing global change in the industry. We are encouraged by the studies that reveal having more women in decision-marking positions leads to higher returns. We look forward to adding to the body of research supporting gender parity and providing the type of data that can drive decision-making within firms.”

EMPEA will lead a collaborative effort across the emerging market private equity industry to address the issue of gender parity and engage members in action-oriented initiatives to address inequality.


About the Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group

The Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group was launched at the Global Private Equity Conference in May 2018 and is EMPEA’s first industry initiative aimed at addressing the gender gap in the emerging markets private capital industry. The Working Group plans to leverage the knowledge and experience of the EMPEA membership and lead a collaborative effort to identify the next steps to achieve gender parity.

About the EMPEA ESG Community

The EMPEA ESG Community is open to all individuals at EMPEA member firms who have an active interest in ESG in the emerging markets space. This Community provides a platform to share resources and advice for EMPEA members considering how to build and/or expand their ESG management strategy and offers practitioners and experts a forum to advance the development of ESG best practices through information exchange, research, and the aggregation and development of innovative resources.

LeapFrog invests in Sri Lanka’s fastest growing life insurer, SoftLogic Insurance

Colombo, December 19 2018:

LeapFrog Investments, the leading Profit with Purpose investor, today announced a USD $12 million investment in Softlogic Life Insurance PLC, purchasing the shares of FMO, the Dutch development Bank. The company, growing at 2x the market, is one of Sri Lanka’s fastest growing life insurers, providing Sri Lankans with individual life and health, group life, and other policies. The main shareholders of the Company will now comprise Softlogic Capital, DEG and LeapFrog Investments.

“The team, products and high growth of Softlogic Life make for an outstanding company. We are thrilled to see them join the LeapFrog portfolio,” said Dr Andrew Kuper, Founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments. “This investment reveals our positive view of Sri Lanka’s long-term trajectory, and its financial services industry. The deal also caps the best year of deployment in the history of our firm.”

Softlogic Life, a top five player, has established itself as a leader in providing quality life insurance products to Sri Lankans. The company leads the market in customer-centric product innovation including tailor-made products such as a worldwide cashless hospital settlement product integrating more than 60 local hospitals, doorstep doctor visits and medical testing. It was also first-to-market in Sri Lanka in offering life insurance via mobile through a partnership with Dialog Axiata. The company employs a 2400-person agent force, as well as distributing protection products via banks and direct means.  

“We are excited about the next wave of growth for Softlogic Life and our ability to continue to accelerate our market-growth strategy in partnership with the LeapFrog team and the insurance and financial services expertise they bring to the table. We are deeply appreciative of FMO’s partnership to build our Company to this strong position and are happy to have provided an excellent return on exiting their investment.” said Ashok Pathirage, Chairman Softlogic group. “LeapFrog has a reputation for partnering to achieve channel expansion, as well as to help solidify strategic relationships that underscore growth – two continued areas of focus for the Softlogic Life business. We hope that this is the first of many investments in Sri Lanka and with the Softlogic Group.”

“Sri Lanka presents a compelling investment opportunity, with an underpenetrated, yet high growth insurance market,” said Fernanda Lima, Director, LeapFrog Investments. “By taking advantage of a diversified distribution strategy, and in-particular delivering insurance in partnership with mobile companies and financial institutions, we will be able increase the reach of relevant products into the country’s emerging consumer segment, who have traditionally been excluded from easy, and affordable access to insurance.”

Mobile insurance products significantly open-up access to the emerging consumer demographic – people living under $10 USD a day. LeapFrog was an early investor in BIMA, which in only four years grew to become the leading emerging consumer mobile insurer, scaling to over 30 million polices for emerging consumers in only four years. LeapFrog sold the majority of its stake in BIMA as part of a $96.6 million investment to Allianz X, the digital investment unit of Allianz group.

An innovator in insurance, Softlogic Life was recently selected as one of the Top 3 Insurers in the Asian region by Asian Insurance Review and has won a multitude of accolades.  Its strong brand and customer-centric agent force combined with tailor-made products are enabling strong growth.

FMO, the Dutch Development Bank who exited their holding to LeapFrog said, “FMO has been an investor in Softlogic Life Insurance PLC since December 2012, at that time a small insurance company, combining general and life insurance products. Some of the main reasons to invest were the professional staff, Softlogic Group being a strong shareholder and the company’s approach to introducing innovations in the insurance sector,” said Linda Broekhuizen Chief Investment Officer FMO. “By making insurance products customer friendly and increasing accessibility, the Softlogic Life team improved financial inclusion in Sri Lanka.  We are proud that the company has performed so well that the reputable LeapFrog Investments took over to further guide the company.”

With a population of 21 million, Sri Lanka is currently underserved with life and health insurance products yet represents a strong growth opportunity with penetration at only 0.6% versus GDP. Between 2012 and 2017, the insurance industry grew at a CAGR of 12% driven by growing awareness of the benefits of insurance as well as the introduction of new and innovative products to service the market.

Uber partners with JUMO to provide driver-partners with vehicle finance

Nairobi, December 3 2018:

Uber has partnered with JUMO, a financial technology company who has created JUMO Drive – a unique digital vehicle finance product that’s easing barriers to car ownership for existing Uber driver-partners. The product has been successfully piloted in Kenya, with the intention to expand the offering across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019.

JUMO’s unique data prediction capabilities utilise driver behavioural data to facilitate credit scoring and offer JUMO Drive to qualifying driver-partners. The JUMO Drive and Uber app work together to generate and facilitate the credit scoring and application process for driver-partners. To ensure that driver-partners have a seamless and automated experience, all applications are transparent and require no upfront costs, no sign-up fees, no deposits.

In addition to the easy application process and flexible repayment structure, further benefits include a tracking device and a service and maintenance plan to ensure driver-partners are able to keep their vehicle up and running in good working order.

The credit risk score of the driver-partners is determined by the driver’s earnings, trips and behaviour patterns ensuring that each driver receives offers that are individually designed. Finance for the vehicles is provided by bank partners on the JUMO platform.

The entire sign-up process for Uber driver-partners, from logging in, to credit approval, can take less than 15 minutes and can see drivers on the road in their own vehicle in under four weeks. To ensure that the driver experience and repayments are optimised, drivers will also have access to flexible repayment terms allowing them to pay as they drive, will have vehicle monitoring and will receive fully transparent pricing, ensuring they have control of their financial health. The product also offers a dealer interface which enables the vehicle dealership to support the drivers effectively through the process which is new to most drivers.

Justin Spratt, Head of Business, for Uber Middle East and Africa explains, “Earlier this year, Uber and JUMO ran a pilot with a select number of Uber drivers in Nairobi who were pre-approved based on their driving behaviour. Based on the success of the pilot, we are happy to bring this innovative financial solution to driver-partners in Sub Saharan Africa.”

“The introduction of JUMO Drive builds on our philosophy of creating economic empowerment for Uber driver-partners. We are constantly seeking opportunities that will allow drivers to start their own business full time while improving their lives – we believe this partnership with JUMO will play a significant role in doing just that.”

“We are really excited to grow our partnership with Uber,” says JUMO Founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball. “JUMO Drive is another way that we are making it easy for small businesses to access great choices: in this case getting a real-time solution to owning your own vehicle financed by a leading bank. The vast majority of ride-sharing drivers globally don’t own their own vehicles. We are looking forward to rolling this out to many more markets.”

Quod and Cignifi Announce Partnership in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 30 2018:

Quod, Brazil’s newly established positive credit bureau, and Cignifi, a leading US fintech company, announced today a partnership that has the potential to significantly improve access to financial services for millions of underserved consumers across Brazil.

The partners will collaborate to launch the country’s first online platform that will provide credit, marketing, fraud and other insights for underserved consumers and SMEs using alternative telecom data combined with a proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning platform.

Quod and Cignifi are in advanced discussions with mobile operators and retailers to bring this data platform to market, and by combining alternative data with Quod’s positive approach to credit scoring, the platform will enable consumers and micro-entrepreneurs to gain access to a broad range of credit products and services, while opening an untapped new customer base to lenders.

“Quod’s mission is to connect consumers and businesses in a brand-new way. Approximately 30% of Brazilian consumers are unbanked, so we need an innovative, secure and tested approach to bring these consumers to the credit market while minimizing uncertainty for lenders” said Rodrigo Abreu, Quod’s CEO.

“We are very excited to help introduce a positive credit approach to Brazil,” said Jonathan Hakim, Cignifi’s CEO. “The main goal of this partnership is to connect people, companies and financial institutions in a transparent and efficient way and allow all parties to make better, more informed credit and marketing decisions.”

The Quod-Cignifi Platform will provide substantial coverage on millions of new-to-credit customers in Brazil. The emergence of a Positive Credit Bureau is significant because it rewards consumers for their positive, responsible use of credit, rather than simply exclude them based on any potential negative credit events in their record. Customer privacy and compliance are also major priorities of the Quod/Cignifi Partnership and will be rigorously protected by use of anonymized data and customer opt-ins.

From the business perspective, the initial roll-out of this partnership will address three of the most immediate challenges faced by telco operators:

• High initial customer default risk and fraud exposure
• The challenge of contacting customers who have defaulted and have no valid contact information
• The difficulties of effectively processing and utilizing the vast amount of data Telcos generate

Mobile operators will also benefit from advanced customer lifecycle tools to help minimize churn and increase lifetime customer value, and they will also gain access to highly granular market share insights of their customer base. The partnership’s product offerings will include credit insights to complement Quod’s positive scores, fraud scores to screen credit applications and online transactions, and propensity indicators to enable digital marketing initiatives.

About Quod
Quod is a data management fintech company created by Brazil’s five largest banks in 2017, to focus on risk management, fraud prevention and big data products and solutions. The company started operations by the end of 2018, and will serve clients in all economic sectors, including financial institutions, insurers, retailers, telecommunication operators and small to medium-sized companies, among others. Quod values data privacy and protection, respects consumers and is committed to improving Brazil’s credit environment, by promoting financial education and providing solutions for better informed companies and individuals. www.quod.com.br

Dominic Barton and Henri de Castries join the Global Leadership Council of LeapFrog Investments

London, October 17 2018:

LeapFrog Investments , the leading Profit with Purpose investor, today announced the formation of a Global Leadership Council focused on the firm’s goal of reaching one billion emerging consumers by 2030. Dominic Barton and Henri de Castries are the Council’s inaugural members. “Today we welcome two of the world’s foremost business leaders, whose imagination, strategic clarity and global networks will support LeapFrog to reshape dozens of companies and emerging markets, and impact hundreds of millions of lives,” said Dr Andrew Kuper, founder and CEO.

Mr Barton is a Senior Partner and former Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Co and co-author of Reimagining Capitalism. Mr de Castries is the former Chairman and CEO of AXA and President of Institut Montaigne, a pioneering thinktank dedicated to public policy in France and Europe. Among diverse leadership roles over three decades, both have overseen landmark panels and studies focused on how finance can drive better growth and outcomes for society.

The announcement comes 10 years since LeapFrog’s launch. In September 2008, President Clinton and Dr Kuper committed LeapFrog to a target of reaching 25 million lower-income people with financial tools within a decade, whilst delivering strong profits to investors. Today, LeapFrog companies reach 140 million people with financial tools or healthcare and they have grown revenues on average at 40 per cent per year. Several of LeapFrog’s companies have been acquired by Allianz, Standard Chartered, Fidelity, Prudential PLC, Swiss Re and other leading global corporations, regularly doubling or tripling investors’ capital.

“It is a decent beginning. In the next decade, we aim to help portfolio companies to reach one billion people with essential services, and in so doing, to provide further reward to our growing community of institutional and high net worth investors,” said Dr Kuper.

“The Global Leadership Council will provide the board and leadership team with invaluable guidance, insight and relationships to ensure we overachieve on those financial and social goals. Each of the Council’s members built, as chief executives and chairmen, industry-leading and high-growth global businesses. Each has driven the use of digital technologies to serve customers. Each has encouraged institutional investors to bring long-term, sustainable and impact investing to the forefront of their portfolios.”

Large demographic shifts over the coming decade will see two-thirds of the nine billion people in the world living in Asia and Africa. The weight of the global economy will move increasingly east and south. Billions of consumers will rise towards the middle class, at an accelerating pace driven by advances in technology and rapid urbanisation. This creates a historic opportunity for investment in the growth markets of Africa and Asia. LeapFrog invests in the companies that provide essential services to those emerging consumers.

In the months ahead, the firm will be announcing several further eminent members of the Council, with complementary regional and industry expertise, all oriented to ensuring Profit with Purpose becomes a new norm for leading businesses and investors.


Dominic Barton said: “Capitalism is at a crossroads. There is an historic opportunity to build purpose-driven businesses and investment groups that generate both outsize growth and impact people’s lives positively; this stands in stark contrast to short-term thinking that amplifies negative outcomes for society. LeapFrog has been a leader in this positive and pioneering thinking in investment and business for a decade. I am very pleased to partner with the group and to participate in its Global Leadership Council, demonstrating a better kind of business, at unprecedented scale.”

Henri de Castries said: “As part of the Global Leadership Council, I look forward to focusing on how to expand Profit with Purpose investing to new markets and innovative companies, helping to transform the way business is done and its impact on diverse societies. I have long found LeapFrog’s approach to delivering profit with purpose very compelling and have been glad to see other major investors and companies following suit, focusing on the opportunity to serve emerging consumers – and serve them well. The scale of this opportunity has only just begun to be realised in our fast-changing world.”

About the Global Leadership Council Members:

Dominic Barton is a Senior Partner and former Global Managing Partner at McKinsey, and leads the firm’s focus on the future of capitalism and the role business leadership can play in creating long-term social and economic value. He serves as Chair of the Canadian Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and is Chair of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council. He is Chancellor at the University of Waterloo and also a Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a Rhodes trustee, an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing and a board member of FCLT Global (Focusing Capital on the Long Term). Dominic has authored numerous books, including co-authoring with Dezso Horvath and Mathhias Kipping, Re-Imagining Capitalism: Building a Responsible Long-Term Model.

Henri de Castries was CEO and Chairman of the Board of AXA from 2000 to 2016, where he built the company into the leading global insurance brand. He is President of The Institut Montaigne a pioneering thinktank focused on public, social and economic outcomes for France and Europe. Mr de Castries worked at AXA for 27 years and since stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive has focused on directorships at HSBC, as well as holding the Vice Chairmanship of Nestle. Prior to working at AXA, he worked for the Minister of Finances of France, including as a member of the French Treasury.