Birth of a new asset class

What ultra-low risk type of asset delivers a cumulative return of investment of 26% over the past three years?

Microfinance has the potential to become a mainstream asset class, much like venture capital 15 years ago, says Alexandre de Lesseps, co-founder of Geneva-based BlueOrchard Finance.

Although the concept of microfinance has been around since Dr. Muhammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1976 to lend to village women, de Lesseps is taking the concept mainstream. BlueOrchard Finance advises the Dexia BlueOrchard Fund, which is the first private worldwide and fully commercial microfinance investment fund.

De Lesseps stresses that microfinance need not be viewed as a charity. The fund he advises has investors, not donors.

Microfinance has given investors a new asset class, he says....

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