BNP Paribas Fortis Private Banking is to give a vital boost to the Venture Philanthropy Fund (VPF) run by the King Baudouin Foundation. The purpose of the VPF is to provide long-term support to non-profit organisations and social economy enterprises. “Our collaboration with BNP Paribas Fortis Private Banking will enable us to provide support to twice the number of organisations annually,” stated Luc Tayart, Chief Executive Officer of the King Baudouin Foundation.
The SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) Fund of Funds Portfolio launched by BNP Paribas Fortis Private Banking in April 2014 had attracted EUR 900 million from a total of 11,000 clients by May this year. “This fund was set up in response to the growing demand for discretionary portfolio management and the increasing interest in SRI and, not least, because BNP Paribas Fortis is committed to acting in a responsible, sustainable manner,” explains Stéphane Vermeire, General Manager Private Banking. “Recently we took the decision to go a step further and add a philanthropic purpose to the fund, through cooperation with the King Baudouin Foundation.”
The Cooperation Agreement provides for 4 extra basis points worth of return to be allocated to the assets under management in the Foundation’s Venture Philanthropy Fund, a sum equivalent to EUR 350,000. This is a genuine donation, which will not be claimed back from the investors by any other means, but we are hoping to create a win-win situation by being able to reach out to more people with this approach. Clients who invest in the fund will have the opportunity to decide each year through an online process which organisations they wish to put their money into.
“The Bank is taking a highly original approach here, which is likely to bring in significant additional resources,” points out Luc Tayart, adding: “Without BNP Paribas Fortis we would be able to support 5 or 6 projects a year, but with BNP Paribas Fortis we can assist ten projects. In addition, these extra resources mean that more organisations will be able to receive a second round of assistance, in the form of additional consultancy services, for instance.”
One of the VPF projects is ‘Bednet’, a highly successful digital education initiative for chronically ill children. “Bednet enables children with long-term illnesses to take part in class lessons via video-link from their beds,” explains project leader Kathy Lindekens, underlining: “Thanks to the backing from BNPPF, we will be able to bring our project up to cruising speed and so help help more children.”
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Banking has made a conscious choice to work with the King Baudouin Foundation, as the organisation’s neutral stance, excellent image and determined social commitment are of fundamental importance for us. By taking this step, the bank intends to clearly highlight its position as front-runner in SRI, Impact Investing and Corporate Philanthropy.