Changes to Oikocredit UK & Ireland operations
Monica Middleton, National Director for Oikocredit UK and Ireland, explains the changes being made to Oikocredit's operations in various countries during 2018 and 2019.
Dear members, investors and friends,
Over the last year, Oikocredit International has conducted a thorough-going review of our global business strategy. Despite our success in building a €1+ billion organization, we concluded that we have been trying to do too many things in too many markets. When combined with external challenges such as a globally low interest-rate environment, growing regulation and increased competition, Oikocredit has decided to reduce its operational complexity and concentrate its global footprint more efficiently on certain markets, sectors and activities.
Thos Gieskes, Managing Director Oikocredit International, Amersfoort, the Netherlands, summarises the aim of our new strategy as follows:
“Our ambition is clear. We want to focus on improving the lives of low-income people in areas where need and opportunity are greatest. We want to maximize our social impact while safeguarding the environment and generating fair financial returns. We want to lead in positive change, to be the preferred social investor and development partner for our partner organisations. We want to offer our investors the chance to be part of a global movement for social change.”
On the capital disbursing side of the organisation (outflow), this means that we have decided to close some of our country and regional offices to focus our activities on regions that show the greatest promise to achieve our mission.
On the capital-raising side of the organisation (inflow), we also need to concentrate our efforts more efficiently.
The ability to grow our investor base sustainably in the UK and Ireland, compared with the capital provided by our global co-operative members and support associations in longer-standing capital-raising countries across Europe, is hindered by a comparatively shorter time in the market; higher costs of doing business; lower critical mass of resource (2 staff), and an absence of optimal equity and debt investment products to meet local UK and Ireland demand competitively.
We have therefore decided to centralise our UK and Ireland investor-related administration, customer service and compliance activities with Oikocredit International, Amersfoort, the Netherlands during August 2018 and wind down our local UK and Ireland operations by 30th September 2018.
Rest assured, we wholeheartedly continue to welcome and service UK and Ireland investors and members from a centralised team at our head office in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The team will be led by Ging Ledesma, Managing Board Investor Relations; Leonard Sprik, Deputy Director of Investor Relations; and Mireille Hendriks, Investor Support Officer. They will be responsible for UK and Ireland investor and member administration and take over processes from the London office during August 2018.
Regrettably, these changes mean that Monica Middleton (National Director) and Archie Pearson (Client and Office Executive) will be moving on to new pastures in the Autumn of 2018. It also means we will unfortunately be winding down contracts with local capital-raising partners and consultants such as Ethex and Fair Finance Scotland (D Cousland), as well as all UK and Ireland-based promotional, business development and affiliation activities with local organisations and networks.
During our much-cherished time with Oikocredit in the UK & Ireland, we have seen considerable growth in local awareness of Oikocredit's social investing activities and consequently our local investor base and invested capital. None of this would have been possible without the tremendous efforts, energy and support of UK and Ireland members, investors, partners, consultants, networks and friends over the years.
The social mission of Oikocredit and the many international colleagues who we count as friends have made the Oikocredit co-operative a profoundly rewarding place to work. And we have benefited from networks and individuals that have truly inspired and supported us over the years. We will miss working under the umbrella of Oikocredit, but we also know we shall collectively remain in contact through our individual and joint aims to drive greater social and environmental investing in world.
“We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Monica and Archie for the contribution they have made to Oikocredit over the past four and a half years - doubling the accumulated UK & Ireland capital and investor base; forming innumerable trusted partnerships, and significantly raising the profile of Oikocredit in the UK and Ireland,” - Thos Gieskes, Oikocredit’s Managing Director.
And thank you from us - for all the help you have given us both as well as the support you continue to give Oikocredit.
With our warmest wishes,
Monica and Archie