Standard Chartered enters into an agreement with Kashf Foundation

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir)

Standard Chartered Bank has entered into a distribution agreement with Kashf Foundation. Through this arrangement, Standard Chartered will be offering Kashf Gender Bonds to the Bank’s non-individual business banking clients.

This distribution arrangement of the Kashf Gender Bond is a significant step towards the Government’s agenda of economic empowerment and financial inclusion of women in Pakistan. The proceeds from the Bond will be utilised for micro-infrastructure finance loans directed towards the welfare of women through entrepreneurship, business support, flood rehabilitation, education, and home rehabilitation projects to name a few. The Bond also offers a great value proposition for the Bank’s client base, attributable to its long-term rating of AAA and market competitive returns along with a guarantee by InfraZamin.  InfraZamin is guaranteeing 100 per cent principal amount along with two quarterly interest payments.

This agreement was signed in presence of Saadya Riaz, Head CPBBStandard Chartered Bank; Roshaneh Zafar, Founder and Managing Director, Kashf Foundation and Maheen Rahman, CEO InfraZamin, at a ceremony in Lahore.

Saadya Riaz, Head CPBB, Standard Chartered said, “At Standard Chartered we are strongly focused toward lifting participation of women and we feel privileged to have partnered with Kashf Foundation for this impactful venture.

Our commitment to our clients is absolute and we strive to offer solutions well suited to their needs. Through our Wealth Management Platform we bring forth the best-in-class investment and protection solutions for our clients. This arrangement gives us an opportunity to deliver real value to our clients due to bond’s quality credit rating, market competitive return and guarantee by InfraZamin and we foresee a strong appetite for it.”

Roshaneh Zafar, Founder and Managing Director, Kashf Foundation said, Kashf has always been at the cutting edge of investing in innovative financial services for women. The gender bond will make finance accessible for women from underprivileged backgrounds by linking them with capital markets, a segment that is often ignored. We are thankful to InfraZamin for playing a significant role as a guarantor that will boost the confidence of investors. The distribution agreement between Kashf Foundation and Standard Chartered Bank is a significant stride in the financial sector. Which, in turn, will contribute significantly to sustainable economic growth in the country and establish a compelling business case for investing in women.

Maheen Rahman, CEO, Infrazamin said: We are excited to the part of the first Gender Bond transaction in Pakistan and grateful to Kashf Foundation for their pioneering vision towards their long history of enabling women empowerment. As a country which sits near the bottom of the Gender Equity Index this transaction marks a significant leap forward in raising commercial capital directed to female empowerment and financial inclusion and represents an important milestone in the development and growth of the capital market. This transaction also demonstrates the power of using guarantees and credit enhancement facilities to enable a crowding in of private institutional investment into private sector-led projects.