January 23

James Militzer

TODAY at 10:00 AM EST: Twitter Chat on IPOs in Microfinance – Join at #MFICHAT

NextBillion is excited to announce our inaugural Twitter chat, which will take place at 10:00 AM EST on Jan. 30. You can follow the conversation at #MFICHAT.

The topic, initial public offerings in microfinance, tends to inspire heated opinions: Many view IPOs as markers of commercial success, and useful ways for MFIs to increase their access to capital, build scale and outreach, and provide liquidity to existing investors. But others view them with suspicion if not alarm, since making an MFI accountable to shareholders who may not share its social mission can shift its emphasis from social impact to profit and growth, resulting in abuses of the very populations that MFIs were intended to benefit.

The chat will follow a quasi-debate format, featuring three outstanding participants with unique (and likely contrasting) perspectives on the topic:

  • Anna Kanze is COO of Grassroots Capital Management PBC, which invests in and provides advisory services to multiple bottom-line businesses. Two of its longstanding portfolio companies – Equitas Holdings and Ujjivan Financial Services – have tapped public markets in India.
  • Daniel Rozas is Senior Microfinance Expert at the European Microfinance Platform and a consultant and researcher on a broad range of topics in financial inclusion. He has extensively studied two of the most heavily scrutinized microfinance IPOs, those of SKS Microfinance and Compartamos. (NOTE: Daniel Rozas may be unavailable for the chat due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict.)
  • Chuck Waterfield, founder of the influential (but sadly defunct) watchdog organization MicroFinance Transparency, is an independent consultant and prominent critic of excessive pricing within the sector.

The Twitter chat was preceded by a podcast featuring Anna Kanze and Daniel Rozas, in which they lay the groundwork for the discussion by exploring the effects of IPOs on Equitas Holdings, Ujjivan Financial Services, SKS Microfinance and Compartamos. Both the podcast and Twitter chat will be part of our ongoing special coverage of microfinance this month. We hope to feature similar open discussions as part of future monthly themes, which you can find on our editorial calendar.


Photo credit: htmvalerio, via Flickr.

Homepage photo: Scott Beale, via Flickr, and Kooroshication, via Flickr.





financial inclusion, microfinance