Schroders Takes a Stake in Impact Investing


Stockholm (NordSIP) – In line with its commitment to ESG and sustainable investing, Schroders has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Zurich-based impact investing asset manager BlueOrchard.

Founded in 2001, BlueOrchard has invested more than USD 6 billion in over 475 institutions across 80 countries, with professionals in seven global offices across four continents. According to its results for the first half of 2019, the asset manager’s flagship fund, BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF), reportedly the first and largest such fund,  exceeded the US$ 2 billion investment mark. BlueOrchard is a pioneer of impact investing and one of the original signatories of the Operating Principles for Impact Management, an initiative supported by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a market standard for impact investing.

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Founded in 1804, Schroders is a British asset manager which employs over 5,000 people in 32 different countries. The company reported US$ 560.5 billion in AUM at the end of 2017, of which £ 46.6 billion was allocated to responsible strategies.

“Schroders has a strong belief in the value that investment can create in society, particularly within emerging and frontier markets. BlueOrchard’s expertise in this area is exceptional,” said Peter Harrison, Group Chief Executive of Schroders. “They share our values, recognising that through our combined contributions, we can purposefully affect positive change. They are a blueprint for the future of our industry and we are delighted to partner together.”

The acquisition of BlueOrchard accelerates the growth of Schroders in private debt and private equity investments in emerging markets, where most of the impact asset manager’s investees are located. The investment improves Schroders ability to serve clients seeking investments with a beneficial impact on society and the environment, with the high returns available in emerging markets.

“We are delighted with today’s announcement,” celebrated Patrick Scheurle, CEO of BlueOrchard. “Schroders’ stable ownership structure and heritage, which is closely aligned with BlueOrchard’s long-term investment philosophy makes them an excellent partner for our business. With the backing of such a strong and like-minded institutional partner, we will be able to further drive innovation and growth and increase our impact substantially, while retaining our investment and operational autonomy. We look forward to continuing to provide an excellent service and the best possible impact investment solutions to our clients.”

The press release noted that “there will be no changes to the management team, processes or strategies that BlueOrchard manages”. Mr Fanconi and Mr Scheurle will retain their positions. In addition to representatives from BlueOrchard, its Board of Directors will also count on Mr Harrison, Georg Wunderlin – Schroders’s Global Head of Private Assets – and Stephen Mills – Executive Chairman of Schroder Adveq.

“For nearly 20 years it has been BlueOrchard’s vision and mission to reduce poverty and protect the planet while providing attractive returns for investors,” commented Peter A. Fanconi, Chairman of BlueOrchard. “With Schroders we have found the ideal strategic partner with whom we will further increase our impact and jointly contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are very pleased that amongst others, Peter Harrison, Schroders’ Group Chief Executive, will join BlueOrchard’s Board of Directors and look forward to jointly develop our business and ultimately drive the growth of the impact investing industry.”

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The coronavirus epidemic has further accelerated the rise of ESG into the investment mainstream. As deficits skyrocket, bond investors have an opportunity to engage with governments on climate change, argues Thomas Dillon, Senior Macro ESG Analyst at Aviva Investors.

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