This case calls students to evaluate an investment in impact-oriented private-debt fund TriLinc Global. The fund is led by Wall Street veteran Gloria Nelund and provides debt financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets. The case discusses the well-known shortages in SME finance globally and the role SMEs play in emerging economies. In her desire to make the impact investing accessible to retail investors, Nelund registered TriLinc Global with the SEC. The case discusses the TriLinc Global Impact Fund's (TriLinc Global's) unique structure and how it addresses capital-shortage problems in global SME finance.
The case opens with Abena Dede looking at the request for proposal from a new potential client, Yohan Van den Berg. Dede's private-wealth-management firm was transitioning from a single-revenue-source business to a more diversified family office. With a roughly $150 million potential account, Van den Berg was a very attractive prospective client who made clear that his investment objectives included "rational and return oriented" impact investing. He had already declined allocation of part of his portfolio to the BlackRock Impact Bond Fund.
Dede was intrigued by TriLinc Global. The fund had made most of its investments through term loans and trade financing. TriLinc Global's loans were collateralized, short-to-medium maturity, had strict loan covenants, and were self-liquidating through repayment of principle with established businesses. The investments range was $1 million to $10 million per transaction with three-to-five-year terms. Trade financing involved short-term capital to importers and exporters. Most of TriLinc Global's experience had been with exporters through senior-secured trade finance. These trade-finance transactions ranged between $500,000 to $5 million and had terms between three and eight months. The material requires students to explore the TriLinc Global and BlackRock Impact Bond funds and evaluate investment strategies.