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Microfinance technical assistance

Providing technical assistance to microfinance institution partners continued to be a priority in 2010. Initiatives included targeted training, specific microfinance initiatives, conferences and related thought leadership events.

Targeted training of Microfinance institution partners:

East Africa Training: Optimal Financing Strategies for MFIs in a Changing Environment

We hosted the East African Training Conference in Nairobi in partnership with the Grameen Foundation, a non-profit organisation involved in microfinance. The conference was organised to help MFIs in East Africa identify challenges in accessing finance and respond to a changing regulatory and funding environment during the financial downturn.

Risk management toolkit roll-out

We developed a Risk Management Toolkit for MFIs in partnership with microfinance consultant Microsave. The toolkit, which covers credit, operational, market and strategic risks, was rolled out in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in December 2010, and we have plans to roll it out in two more geographies in 2011.

Microfinance pricing transparency initiative

We became one of the first commercial banks to support the MicroFinance Transparency (MFT) Group’s Transparent Pricing Initiative in India. The objective of the initiative is to protect customers by making pricing transparent. Pricing information from most MFIs is collected, analysed and published on the MFT website to help customers, funding organisations, donors, regulators and MFIs make informed decisions.

Working Group on Inclusive Finance in China

In October 2010, we signed a founding partnership agreement to support The Working Group on Inclusive Finance in China at the 7th China International Finance Forum in Shanghai.

The Working Group aims to promote supportive government policies and responsible investor behaviour in China and will focus on high quality research, principally funded by the Group’s private members. Members will also exchange knowledge and experiences, new developments and third-party research.

Thought leadership events

We actively contribute to international seminars and conferences promoting microfinance in our markets. Standard Chartered has organised and supported a number of major conferences for the microfinance sector in 2010, including:

  • Microfinance Investment Conference in Asia (Singapore): attended by leading players in the industry and helped increase awareness of microfinance investment opportunities in Asia
  • 2nd China Microfinance Investors Conference (China): aimed at promoting exchange between international and Chinese investors, financial regulators and providers of inclusive financial services
  • National Microfinance Conference 2010 (India): brought together local MFIs, regulators, lenders and socially responsible investors and provided a platform for stakeholders to reflect on various contemporary issues, share experiences and innovations and develop synergies for the development of the sector in India
  • Microfinance Summit (India): we supported this summit, themed Mission of Microfinance – Time to Reflect and Reaffirm. Standard Chartered led a separate breakout session on Risk Environment for Microfinance
Annual Report and Accounts 2010