On December 20, 2011, MicroRate,with the support of LuxFLAG and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,launched Luminis™ the first web-based, analytical platform focused on microfinance funds, also known as microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs). The website can be accessed at www.luminismicrofinance.com
With thesuccess of microfinance and the growing interest in impact investments that deliver both financial returns and social impact, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of global funds that invest in microfinance institutions (MFIs). Until now, there was no single resource to assist investors in identifying and analyzing the wide range of investment options in this growing category ofsocially responsible investments.
Responding to this need, MicroRate’s team of microfinance and capital market analysts developed a proprietary approach to analyzing impact investment funds, called PRSM™, to assess the funds’ performance, risk, social, and management components. This in-depth analysis forms the core of Luminis, which also provides investors with search and comparison tools, detailed fund profiles and reports, research, and relevant market news.
“MicroRate’s core mission has always been to facilitate the flow of capital-market funding to microfinance to promote the long-term sustainability of this poverty-alleviation tool,” stated Damian von Stauffenberg, founder and chairman of MicroRate. “Since 1996, MicroRate has rated MFIs to achieve this goal. Luminis will now provide unprecedented transparency on the investment-fund level, which will further develop the microfinance industry.”
The current Beta version of the Luminis site includes basic profiles on over 80 MIVs. Users can also preview samples of detailed fund profiles and reports that will be part of the full-release version of the site which is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2012.
According to Kenneth Hay, Chairman of LuxFLAG “We see the launch of Luminis as a critical stepforward,providing the detailed and reliable industry information necessary for investors to evaluate MIVs as a validimpact investment option and a potential alternative asset class producing both financial and social returns.”
Of the funds featured on Luminis, 15hold the LuxFLAG Microfinance Label.