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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2019 PROFILE


Total Assets Under Management: $50 – 99M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 1 – No Poverty
Fair Trade
Sustainable Agriculture
Microfinance, low-income financial services & micro-insurance

Firm Overview

Category: (None)

Alterfin is one of the pioneer social investors, which was created in 1994 under the form of a cooperative to finance Microfinance Institutions and organizations active in Smallholder Sustainable Agriculture value chains. Alterfin's goal is to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of socially and economically disadvantaged people and communities, predominantly in rural areas in low- and middle-income countries around the world. In order to achieve this goal, Alterfin provides financial and non-financial services to its partners by:

  1. raising funds, mainly from individual investors and socially responsible institutions;
  2. structuring and promoting ethical and sustainable investments;
  3. networking with like-minded organizations.

Since inception Alterfin played a pioneer and catalyst role, by financing organizations with no or limited access to funding and growing with them. In 2019, Alterfin disbursed EUR 65m; reaching 180 partners in 38 countries for more than 3.7m beneficiaries.

Firm Headquarters: Western Europe
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$50 – 99M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

Alterfin focuses on the rural world, where more than 75% of the world's poor reside, and supports Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and organizations active in smallholder sustainable agriculture value chains, by providing credit, equity and capacity building. Alterfin raises funds from more than 6,000 individual and institutional investors and aims for social, environmental and financial sustainability.  

Investment Overview:

The investment strategy of Alterfin is thus twofold:

  • Channeling its funds through MFIs promoting financial inclusion predominately in rural areas (65% of our MFIs' outreach is rural). By providing adequate and responsible financing, our MFI partners generate opportunities of growth and development for low-income people; 
  • Financing farmers organizations or SMEs aggregating thousands of smallholder farmers and providing access to market, financing and capacity building. Such organizations contribute to the integration of farmers into fairer and sustainable value chains, improving incomes for their families, contributing to food security while protecting natural resources. 
Company Differentiator:

Alterfin operates since inception as a cooperative, thus mobilizing funds from more than 6,000 individual and institutional investors to fund MFIs and organizations active in smallholder sustainable agriculture value chains.  By doing so, Alterfin created a unique blend of financing allowing to operate sustainably without any grants since 2000. Alterfin also prides itself to have done that by maintaining a deeper and more rural outreach, being able to sustainably target smaller organizations with no or limited access to funding, and supporting them along their development growth. Alterfin is in fact able to sustainably provide relatively small loans (up to 100,000 USD), out of which 65% target rural households. Moreover, for 40% of its partners, Alterfin was the first international lender and played a catalyst role. In order to adopt a holistic approach towards the development of its partners, Alterfin also creates ad hoc funds to answer to the multiple needs of its partners: technical assistance to strengthen skills, long term investments to create more value, equity to provide patient capital to develop.  

Investment Example

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
20 – 29 years
Jean-Marc Debricon – General Manager More Info

Jean-Marc Debricon has been involved in a number of non-profit organizations active in the developing world. In 2010, he founded Green Shoots Foundation, a charity registered in the UK and the US and implementing sustainable development programs in Asia and Africa. In 2011, he co-founded Children of the Mekong, the UK branch of “Enfants du Mekong” a French NGO supporting children and poor communities across Southeast Asia. He was a trustee of the Research, Education, Direction (RED) Foundation, a UK charity providing long term medical assistance and training for medical staff treating AIDS patients in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Caterina Giordano – Head of Investments More Info

Caterina Giordano is Head of Investments at Alterfin. She manages the global microfinance and sustainable agriculture portfolio at Alterfin, and the Investment team. Caterina joined Alterfin in 2013 at first as Africa and then Asia Regional Manager, to become in 2017 Head of Investments. She started her career in microfinance with K-Rep Bank (Kenya) conducting an extensive survey to understand the Bank’s outreach and assess its mission drift risk. She spent 6 years in Kenya first managing an agri-financing project under an Italian NGO and then as Africa Regional Manager for Microfinanza Rating. In 2010, she finally joined the social investment sector. Prior to Alterfin, she worked for an Equity Investor and participated to the set-up of a microfinance institution in Zambia. She holds a master’s degree in Economics of Public Administration and International Administration at Bocconi University.

Audrey Timmermans – Head of Finance and Administration More Info

Audrey Timmermans is Alterfin’s Finance and Administration Manager. In this role, Audrey oversees all areas of finance and administration including assets and liability management, budget, accounting, credit administration, MIS and company’s procedures. She also provides financial reporting and strategic analyses for senior management and is a member of the Alterfin Investment Committee. Since June 2016, she is also the Executive Director of the Alterfin Guarantee Fund. Audrey gained her experience at Amnesty International’s Secretariat and at Handicap International Belgium. She received her Master’s in management science from the Solvay School of Economics and Management (ULB, Brussels).

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Near-market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Creating jobs
Increasing access to financial services
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Conserving land, ecosystems and natural resources
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

Social and environmental impact is integrated in our investment policy and procedures. At four stages impact is taken into consideration: pre-selection, due diligence, decision, monitoring and evaluation. Alterfin is using a methodology based on the work of the Social Performance Task Force, in which we play an active role. This is complemented by the client protection principles in the case of microfinance, and the ALINUS tool. For sustainable agriculture we mainly use screening procedures based on the different fair trade and organic labels.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

Factors taken into consideration in the due diligence process (non-exhaustive list):

  • Child Labour policy
  • Environmental policy
  • Water management practices
  • Number of female workers or women part of Board of Directors
  • Trainings offered to employees and beneficiaries
  • Social benefits offered to employees 

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Jean-Marc Debricon
Phone: +32 (0)2 538 58 62
Mailing Address:

Chaussée de Haecht 159, 1030 Brussels, Belgium

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