Development Finance Institutions’ Effect on The Fund Manager’s Investment Decisions : Balancing Financial Performance Goals and Development Impact Objectives

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) have played a crucial role in moving socially responsibility considerations up on the private equity industry’s agenda. DFIs add a development impact criterion to traditional financial performance goals in the investment industry and play a catalytic role by mobilizing other investors. The gap in research regarding DFIs implications and significance in the investment community from a SRI perspective is evident. The development impact objective introduced by the DFIs is examined to understand its effects on fund managers’ decision-making and if it exists a trade-off between this objective and financial performance. An understanding of how DFIs control fund managers to act in accordance to their objective as well as how they determine compensation schemes to incentivize them to pursue high return on investments, is discussed in relation to the agency theory. Furthermore, stakeholder/shareholder consideration is examined in relation to the subject. The aim of this study is to examine how the behavior of fund managers is affected by the involvement of a DFI investor and try to add to the understanding of their significance as institutional investors in developing markets. Previous studies have been more focused on determining the financial performance of socially responsible investments by using very similar quantitative data collection methods. This thesis undertakes an in-depth approach with the purpose to understand the fund manager’s drives as well as how a DFI involvement affects the behavior and decision-making process.   This thesis undertook a qualitative research strategy and semi-structured interviews were used as the tool to understand the fund managers’ personals beliefs and perceptions of how the relationship with DFIs affect them. The selection criteria for the fund managers was that they needed to work in a fund in which a DFIs has invested. We also included DFI investors in order to understand their point of view. The interview was recorded, transcribed and later divided into themes in accordance with the thematic approach, following six steps. Our findings show that Development Finance Institutions plays an important role in emerging markets and affect fund manager behavior to a certain extent. They did not perceive a trade-off between financial performance goals and development impact objectives. We conclude that DFIs increase fund manager focus on ESG/SEE elements in the investment process. DFIs requirements and reporting obligations is used as a tool to ensure that the fund manager act in accordance to DFI objective. The fund managers were neither willing to sacrifice commercial return in favor of development impact. Lastly, the interest among the DFIs and commercial investors is fairly similar, hence reducing the conflict of interest between investors.

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