Regional—Financial Services Group (FSG Plus)

Client: British International Investment (BII)

Duration: 2021-2024

Region:

Country: Regional

Solutions: Economic Growth

British International Investment (BII)—formerly CDC Group—is the UK Government’s development finance institution. It supports the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses across South Asia and Africa.

Financial Services Group Plus (FSG Plus) is a Technical Assistance (TA) Facility for Financial Institutions that enables a systematic approach to TA delivery. It works with financial service providers to catalyze investment in low-carbon, climate-resilient projects and promote inclusive climate finance.

FSG Plus looks for opportunities to:

  • Develop new/improved products: this includes improvements to the design and distribution of financial services to make them more accessible to unserved customer segments, such as women-led businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in frontier markets.
  • Develop new markets/segments, such as entering green/sustainable supply chains or developing a new strategy and suite of products targeting previously ignored or underserved customer segments, such as smallholder farmers.
  • Contribute to enhanced processes or systems: for example, creating more diverse staff and leadership teams or increasing the use of digitization better to deliver financial services to remote or underserved populations.

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Sample Activities

  • Co-creating projects with BII’s FSG and its financial institution investees, guiding these from design to implementation, and holding overall governance responsibilities.
  • Supporting financial service providers in developing new financial products according to “best fit”—tailored to the local market context and the needs of the most vulnerable households, smallholder farmers, and SMEs. These products will also promote climate risk management along the pillars of the Task Force on Climate Finance Disclosure and Climate Finance and upgrade environmental, social, and governance standards.
  • Ensuring a diverse and balanced portfolio of technical assistance projects, using feedback loops to maximize the synergies between the projects.
  • Commissioning research on frontier markets, digital financial services, and agribusinesses, among other topics of financial inclusion interest. Disseminating findings through far-reaching events targeted at financial institutions.
  • Selecting, contracting, and managing the performance of a pool of over 30 local and international technical assistance providers.

Select Results

  • Supported an Indian Non-Bank Financial Company in analyzing its operations, products, and services through a gender lens, seeking strategies to close gender both internally and among the client base. The TA offered significantly increased knowledge and understanding of the barriers faced by women in terms of financial access at the senior leadership level, paving the way for the design of gender-sensitive products, allowing the rollout of a gender-disaggregated analysis of the customer base, and triggering the upgrade to obtain two ISO certifications for human resource operations. As a result of the TA received, following from project recommendations, the NBFC has now launched a product specifically targeted at urban and peri-urban women SME owners.
  • Supported an MFI across its branches in Ghana, Tunisia, and Cote d’Ivoire to build its climate strategy through an assessment of its country subsidiaries’ portfolio exposure to climate changes; developing training tools to help staff understand climate change-related risks and their impacts on the business sectors and to implement actions to mitigate these risks.
  • Supporting a commercial bank in Bangladesh to develop its directed lending line and expand its green lending initiatives. The project focuses on enhancing the bank’s capacity, improving its green governance; refining processes and procedures; developing a comprehensive reporting system; establishing a compliance framework; and implementing loan tracking systems as per the Green Lending Principles (GLPs).
  • Delivered an online event to over 140 participants and over 30 financial institutions on unlocking climate finance and gender lens investment opportunities from a local perspective in West African markets. This event will be followed by a research report to be published in the summer of 2024.
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