ABP plants $30 million in microfinance

Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Heerlen, Netherlands, committed $30 million to a microfinance private equity fund managed by Grassroots Capital, according to fund spokesman Thijs Steger.

The commitment is part of the €208 billion ($280 billion) fund's 5% strategic allocation to private equity, which accounts for 5%. The fund began investing in microfinance in 2005, and now has about $215 million either invested or committed to microfinance debt and microfinance private equity strategies.

Microfinance targets “double bottom-line returns” by investing capital in start-up and intermediate microfinance institutions, according to Jan van Roekel, a senior portfolio manager at APG, which manages the fund's portfolio along with other third-party assets. “Moreover, it will give some of the world's economically most disadvantaged people the opportunity to improve their livelihoods.” Mr. van Roekel added.