Symbiotics, a Switzerland-based investment intermediary, and UBS, which is formerly known as the United Bank of Switzerland, recently closed their SME Finance – Loans for Growth Fund with USD 50 million in investments. The fund will provide credit to financial institutions focused on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in “frontier and emerging markets.”
The fund, which is fully-subscribed and has a 4-year lifetime, will offer investors 10-percent “first-loss risk protection” co-financed equally by UBS and the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO), a government agency that oversees the country’s economic and trade policy. As part of its management responsibilities, Symbiotics will report annually on fund’s social impact as well as its financial performance.
As of 2016, for-profit Symbiotics manages a portfolio of approximately USD 1.3 billion assets through 20 different investment funds. As of December 31, 2015, UBS reported total assets of CHF 943 billion (USD 962 billion), return on equity (ROE) of 11.8 percent and return on assets (ROA) of 3.1 percent.
By Michelle Dold, Research Associate
Founded in 2004, the Switzerland-based Symbiotics Group provides investment intermediary and business services to investors in and practitioners of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) development. As of 2016, it manages a portfolio of approximately USD 1.3 billion assets through 20 different investment funds. The for-profit company also offers Syminvest, a microfinance investment information platform designed to increase transparency and enhance investment capacity in the industry by monitoring regional markets as well as individual institutions.
About UBS (formerly the United Bank of Switzerland)
UBS is a Zurich-based financial services company that was established in 1854. It provides investment banking, asset management and wealth management services for private, corporate and institutional clients. Formerly known as the United Bank of Switzerland, it is organized as an aktiengesellschaft, a corporation that issues shares of common stock to investors. As of December 31, 2015, UBS reported total assets of CHF 943 billion (USD 962 billion), invested assets of CHF 2.69 billion (USD 2.74 billion), return on equity (ROE) of 11.8 percent and return on assets (ROA) of 3.1 percent.
About Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO)
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is an agency of the government of Switzerland responsible for the planning and implementation of economic and trade policy measures. SECO focuses on domestic and international issues such as the competitiveness of Swiss exports, trade diversification, infrastructure financing and foreign investment. SECO’s Economic Cooperation and Development Division aims to help integrate developing countries into the global economy while promoting their economic growth.
Sources and Additional Information:
 Symbiotics Press Release: “Symbiotics and UBS team up to launch a new innovative impact investing fund, with the support of the Swiss government, promoting growth and employment in developing countries”
 MicroCapital Universe Profile: Symbiotics
 MicroCapital Universe Profile: United Bank of Switzerland (UBS)
 MicroCapital Universe Profile: Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO)
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