JPMorgan Launches Social Sector Finance Unit to Bring Financial Services to Microfinance and Social Enterprises

JPMorgan, a US-based global financial services firm with assets of USD 1.5 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries, has announced the launch of a Social Sector Finance (SSF) unit within its Investment Bank. The unit will leverage JPMorgan’s existing products and expertise to bring financial services to microfinance and social enterprises. The unit’s service offering will include capital markets, structured products, and principal investments and will pursue a double bottom line strategy of both social benefits and financial returns.

The establishment of JPMorgan’s SSF unit is part of the firm’s overall strategy to increase its focus on microfinance. Head of Global Research Nick O’Donohoe is leading JPMorgan’s efforts to further the firm’s Social Responsibility agenda. The new SSF unit will be run by Christina Leijonhufvud, who will report directly to Mr. O’Donohoe. According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Leijonhufvud received a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and was a former Country Director at the World Bank serving Central Asian Operations. In addition to her service a JPMorgan, Ms. Leijonhufvud also serves as a consultant for Ashoka, a non-profit organization that promotes social entrepreneurship worldwide through financial services for social enterprises.

JPMorgan’s new SSF unit is not the first of its kind. In September 2007, MicroCapital.org reported on the formation of a Microfinance Institution Group at Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley’s unit came as a natural progression stemming from its recent work in the microfinance industry. In March 2006, Morgan Stanley and BlueOrchard Finance, a microfinance fund investment company issued a USD 106 million bond backed by loans to MFIs. In May 2007, Morgan Stanley and BlueOrchard issued another USD 108 million equivalent in bonds to finance 13 MFIs globally.

Author:.

David brings 10 years of experience in microfinance management, social entrepreneurship, non-profit management/fund-raising and microfinance investment research. David is the Chairman and President of Prisma Microfinance, Inc., a retail “microbank” operating in Central America. He is also Chief Editor of MicroCapital.org, a news and information service for the microfinance community and its investors. Each month, MicroCapital.org publishes the MicroCapital Monitor, the leading industry...

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