Congrats to our friends over at MicroRate for celebrating their 15th birthday a few days ago!

From the MicroRate:

Washington D.C., July 27, 2012 – This month MicroRate, the first rating agency to specialize in microfinance, celebrated its 15th anniversary.

“We started MicroRate because already in 1997 it was apparent that public investment could not finance the immense demand for microcredit. Only private capital markets would be large enough,” reflected Damian von Stauffenberg, founder and chairman of MicroRate. “Capital markets, however, will not pay attention to a sector that lacks transparency.”

After identifying the need for transparency, MicroRate began to pilot microfinance institution (MFI) ratings in 1996. In 1997, MicroRate was formally established with the mission “to be the leading microfinance information services provider. MicroRate will accomplish this by maintaining a high level of quality along with independence, integrity, and an unyielding commitment to the poor.”

Since its founding, MicroRate has performed over 600 MFI evaluations including Credit Ratings, Social Ratings, Institutional Evaluations and its original product, the Performance Rating. MicroRate’s operations expanded to open field offices in Lima, Peru and Casablanca, Morocco, outside of its main office located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

In addition to MFI evaluations, MicroRate has published industry-leading research including:

Role Reversal Revisited: Are public development institutions still crowding out private funders?
The State of Microfinance Investment 2011: MicroRate’s 6th annual survey and analysis on microfinance investment vehicles
Cautious Resilience: The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Latin American and Caribbean Microfinance Institutions
Technical Guide: Performance Indicators for Microfinance Institutions (3rd Edition)

MicroRate also pioneered evaluations of microfinance funds, having performed the first public evaluation of a microfinance CDO and over 60 fund evaluations. In 2010, MicroRate launched its Luminis service to provide data and analysis on microfinance funds. Prior to Luminis, investors in these funds had no access to comparable information or benchmarking metrics for this new asset class.

“The development of Luminis is just one example of how MicroRate strives to provide relevant services to help increase access and awareness of microfinance investment options,” commented MicroRate CEO, Sebastian von Stauffenberg. “MicroRate’s vision from the beginning has been ‘to promote the flow of funds from capital markets to microfinance by increasing transparency and growth in the global microfinance community.’ We will continue to promote this vision and to meet the needs of investors and MIVs, as well as MFIs who seek daily to promote inclusive finance for the underserved.”

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