Deeper relationships

FMO attaches strategic importance to deepening relations with our stakeholders, because by pooling resources and partnering we can significantly increase our impact. As part of efforts to deepen relationships, FMO catalyses and blends funds, builds partnerships, manages funds on behalf of the Dutch government, supports Dutch businesses and builds employee and client relations.  

Catalysed funds

In line with SDG 17 (Partnerships for Growth) FMO seeks to catalyse funds, meaning we encourage other often larger investors to join our investments for increased impact. In 2018, FMO catalysed third party funds for a total of €629 million, which was below our target of €920 million. This result was due to FMO shifting its focus to Africa and Asia where there is less potential for catalysing at scale. Another factor was high liquidity in certain syndication markets among Development Finance Institutions in particular, which through pressure on prices might crowd out private investors. As FMO aims to crowd in private sector investors we decided to shift to other markets and clients, resulting in fewer syndicated transactions in 2018.

FMO Investment Management (FMO IM), however, was able to increase its assets under advisory to more than €500 million. This was due in part because FMO IM was able to close its fourth and largest debt fund this year, the $250 million NN-FMO Emerging Markets Loans Fund. We are particularly pleased with the participation of Alecta, Sweden’s largest pension fund, because it signals that FMO has become a credible and attractive investment partner for pension funds, whose substantial liquidities can boost global efforts to achieve the SDGs. By year-end the fund participated in 24 loans to financial institutions, renewable energy projects and agribusinesses with commitments totalling $110 million. Our goal is to grow the fund to $500 million.

FMO IM’s three other funds performed as follows:

  • Our Privium Impact Fund increased to $131 million with a total of 51 loan participations across our focus sectors financial institutions, energy and agribusiness. The fund offered a net return of 3.9% on the A-share class (USD unhedged), 1.2% on the B-share class (Euro hedged) and (0.2%) on the recently opened I-share class (Euro hedged). The performance of the fund’s euro share classes is below target due to the difference between USD libor and Euribor which continues to hamper the Euro return on the fund and secondly the first loan provision taken by the fund.

  • The ACTIAM-FMO SME Finance Fund, with a net asset value by year end of €168 million, participates in FMO loans to financial institutions with an objective to improve access to finance for emerging markets-based SME companies. The fund continued to re-invest its proceeds in new loans this year. The return since inception end of 2013 amounts to 13.4%, with an annualized return since inception of 2.5%.

  • FMO IM has been an investment advisor to ASN Green Projects Fund since 2017. During 2018, the fund participated in two new renewable energy transactions sourced by FMO, bringing total commitments to FMO loans by the fund to $13.5 million.

In the area of blended funds, which combines private and public funds, Climate Investor One (CIO) achieved its fourth close at $555 million. This innovative blended finance facility, which was initiated by FMO, provides funding for renewable energy projects in wind, solar and hydro in developing countries. CIO comprises three funds that finance the development, construction and operations stages of a project.

FMO established its partnership with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) by signing an agreement that enables FMO to implement GCF funded low-emission and climate-resilient projects in developing countries, with a focus on the private sector. The GCF Board approved FMO’s first project under this agreement – Climate Investor One – enabling it to mobilise further commercial funds and build approximately 30 renewable energy projects over its lifetime, delivering an estimated 1,600+ MW of additional capacity in the 11 target countries. 

Government funds

FMO manages three funds on behalf of the Dutch government, namely MASSIF, the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) and the Access to Energy Fund (AEF). These funds allow us to invest early on, take higher risks, and catalyse new investors. In 2018, a total of €135 million was invested through these funds, which was below target mainly due to fewer investments through AEF, as this type of transactions have longer lead times and structuring is often complex.

On a more positive note, the mandates for IDF and AEF were renewed in 2018 for another decade. During this time the Dutch government will commit an additional €100 million to IDF and AEF will receive a top up of €40 million to be invested in 2019. The additional funds will allow us to have more impact over time.

New commitments for IDF amounted to €53 million, just short of its target (€60 million). Set up in 2002, IDF focuses on the electricity, water, health and transport infrastructure that countries need in order to grow. Increasingly, the fund focuses on agriculture and investments that reduce GHG emissions or adapt to climate change. Meanwhile, new commitments for AEF amounted to €13 million, below the target of €30 million. Two investments were transferred to FMO's balance sheet because they no longer required high-risk funding. Set up in 2007, AEF initially focused on renewable energy for households in Sub Saharan Africa. In 2018 the investment strategy was revised and now has a global geographic focus and allows for credit to SMEs for decentralised energy generation. Going forward we will increase our focus on investing IDF and AEF to catch up and fully utilize their high-risk bearing capacity. 

FMO also realised new commitments to MASSIF amounting to €69 million (target: €72 million), including an innovative (guarantee) financing to a microfinance institution in Ethiopia. Set up in 2006, MASSIF provides access to financial services such as bank accounts, savings products and loans for micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. This is key to creating job opportunities and better livelihoods at the base of the pyramid. 

In addition to these three funds, FMO manages a Capacity Development (CD) programme on behalf of the Dutch government. In 2018, CD contracted 54 new projects for a total of €4.6 million of funding. FMO also decided to extend its own contribution to the CD Program, totalling €2.8 million annually, while the renewal of the AEF and IDF funds will also provide additional CD funding. CD supports knowledge transfer and provision of technical expertise, particularly around green and gender investments, support to smallholders and innovative opportunities like Fintech. CD projects are key to FMO’s ambitions and those of our stakeholders.


In addition to deepening relations through investments, FMO ensures that relations with clients and employees are in optimal condition. In 2018, we conducted a client satisfaction survey in which we scored an 8.5 out of 10, slightly below our 2015 score of 8.6 but still on par with peers. Our Net Promoter Score reached 69.5, an improvement over previous 68.4 and close to our target of 70.

These scores reflect our clients’ appreciation for our professionalism, reliability and the effort we put in organising a range of conferences, workshops, exchange programmes that connect, inspire and teach clients. In 2018, for example, we organised the Future of Finance and Making Solar Bankable conferences, which each drew 500 participants from all over the world. The survey also indicates we can do better on lead times and our added value related to training and knowledge sharing.


By year end of 2018, our total staff amounted to 533 employees, all of whom are covered under the collective labor agreement. FMO’s unique mission and the complexity of our financial investments call for inspired and empowered staff. An FMO employee engagement survey yielded an engagement score of 7.4, the same as 2017 but below our target of 7.5. On a more detailed level we find that the engagement score for our male staff is higher than for female staff (7.5 vs 7.2) and higher for non-nationals than for Dutch staff (7.4 vs 7.3). Overall, our employees support FMO’s goals and ambitions, are proud to work for us and are willing to go the extra mile. However, they also said they are less satisfied with their remuneration, the level of efficiency and innovation and recognition for their work. These areas will be addressed in 2019.

We also want to increase the level of diversity of culture and gender at all levels of FMO. Diversity creates a more welcoming work environment for a wider range of people and produces better, more balanced decision-making. Diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints enhances creativity and innovation. All this leads to better solutions for our clients and aids our efforts to be a high-performing organization. It is our goal to make fullest use of the benefits FMO's diversity brings through having a good balance of gender and nationalities within our company.

Our employees in numbers



Total number of employees



Total FTEs at year end



Number of new recruits



Number of nationalities



% non-Dutch employees



% country of birth not NL



% of women in senior and middle management



% staff turnover (male/female)

12% / 11%

7% / 9%

% absenteeism



Number of trainings held by FMO Academy



From a gender perspective, FMO is well-balanced, with 49% female and 51% male colleagues. When it comes to the Management Board and the Directors, the share of women is currently at 39%. The network FMO Femmes supports female colleagues in their career ambitions. Gender diversity is always discussed in appointment and succession decisions.

FMO is EDGE certified. Economic Dividends from Gender Equality (EDGE) is the leading global standard for gender equality in the workplace. Certification required a rigorous external assessment of the workplace environment through an employee survey, and review of company policy and practice against best international practice. Certification fits FMO’s philosophy that an organization can only thrive if it is built on a diverse and inclusive organizational culture.

FMO is becoming more and more international. More than one-third of our employees have been born outside of the Netherlands. Every fourth employee has a different nationality than Dutch and these colleagues together represent 50 different nationalities. Accepting diverse cultures starts with being aware of one’s own. It is crucial to create a climate where people of different backgrounds feel comfortable expressing their differing opinions. In our learning and development programs and at the FMO Academy, we offer training to raise awareness about different cultures and dealing with cultural diversity.


FMO acknowledges the importance of having sound and controlled operations which also includes KYC. FMO’s Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure screens clients on compliance with anti-money laundering, terrorist financing and international sanctions laws and regulations. In 2018, timely conducting of periodic KYC reviews was a specific area of focus for FMO. As a result, we managed to timely complete the periodic reviews that were due in 2018. In 2018 we implemented new requirements based on the European Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. In August 2018, DNB conducted an on-site inspection on the systemic integrity risk analysis (SIRA) and KYC procedure. FMO has started the necessary enhancements of the KYC procedures and increasing the effectiveness of controls based on DNB findings. During 2019, FMO will continue to strengthen its KYC procedure. Follow up is closely monitored by the Management Board and the Compliance Committee.

No significant integrity incidents related to FMO employees have been reported and there were no incidents at existing clients outside FMO’s risk appetite.

In 2016, FMO began to prepare for the 2018 roll out of the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) with improved policies, procedures and controls. A number of GDPR IT solutions was implemented and the project was completed on time. No data leaks that required reporting to the Data Protection Authority occurred over the course of the year.