Frequently asked questions

If your question is not answered here please contact us at our UK office so that we can answer your questions or find someone who can.   

  • What is the Oikocredit International Share Foundation (OISF)?

    The Oikocredit Ecumenical Development Co-operative Society U.A (Oikocredit) was incorporated in 1975 as a co-operative society under the Laws of the Netherlands.

    The Oikocredit International Share Foundation (OISF) is an administrative office of Oikocredit, established for raising investment from the public by issuing depository receipts and which invests its funds by way of shares in Oikocredit.

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  • What are Depository Receipts (DRs)?

    Depository Receipts are like shares which permit individuals and organisations to invest in Oikocredit.  It gives holders the financial rights of a shareholder without direct membership. Depository Receipts also contribute to the capital Oikocredit invests in its partners, in the same way as shares held by member organisations. This structure protects Oikocredit’s commitment to its mission and values: only member organisations can vote, but all our investors’ views are important.

    Depository receipts are classified by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a non-readily realisable security. This is any investment which is illiquid, hard-to-price and for which there is no, or only a limited secondary market.  Depository receipts are therefore not an investment in a security which is admitted to official listing on, or regularly traded on (or under the rules of) a recognised investment exchange, e.g. the London Stock Exchange. 

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  • What is the typical dividend payable?

    The OISF pays a modest gross dividend on its depository receipts (historically not more than 2% gross per year*). The dividend cannot be guaranteed as it depends on the financial results in a given calendar year. Since 1995, the OISF has paid its investors a dividend of between 1% and 2% gross each year, every year*.  The OISF applies no annual management charges, commissions, fees or other charges.  *Taken from Oikocredit Annual Reports & Accounts.

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  • How is any dividend calculated for a part year?

    The dividend has historically been due for each full month that the depository receipts are held.  For example, the annual gross dividend for 2016, payable in June 2017, was 2%*. So the distribution of dividends equates to one twelfth of 2% for every full calendar month of the year that the depository receipts were registered. *Taken from Oikocredit Annual Reports & Accounts.

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  • When is any dividend paid?

    The dividend is calculated in June each year based on your investment holdings in the previous year. For example, the June 2017 dividend was based on investments held from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. You can choose to re-invest your dividend, have it paid out to you (minimum £50), or gift it to the Oikocredit International Support Foundation for capacity-building and technical assistance to enhance the skills of some of our partners. 

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  • Is my investment covered by a financial services compensation scheme?

    The OISF is not covered by a financial services compensation scheme in any country.  The OISF is not a bank and your investment is in the depository receipts of the OISF and is thereafter at risk.  

    To manage this risk, our investors' capital from across the world is pooled together, spreading the risk across over 70 countries where we invest, and across multiple sectors.  In addition, potential loan losses are mitigated through Oikocredit's own Bad Debt Provision fund; and Currency risks are mitigated via Oikocredit’s Currency Risk fund.  Please read the prospectus for a full description of risks.

    Since its inception in 1995, the OISF has never failed to redeem an investment on request and for its original value. Past performance is not, however, a guide to future performance.  Your investment is at risk, is potentially illiquid and repayment of your investment is not guaranteed.

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  • Why is the prospectus such a large document?

    The information contained in the prospectus is specified by the Dutch regulating authority to ensure you are aware of the potential risks and are given a realistic presentation of the rewards of investment.

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  • Can an investment be held in joint names?

    Yes. If you are investing as an individual or as joint individuals, the forms that you complete make provision for including a second investor. The OISF will always communicate with the first named investor, unless otherwise specified.   For organisational investors, the name of the organisation is deemed to be 'the investor', but we communicate with individuals as specified on the forms you supply us. 

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  • How do I withdraw my investment?

    You can withdraw part or all your investment at any time, after completing the online redemption request form or by requesting a copy of the form via the Oikocredit UK and Ireland office. Redemption (in part or full) can take up to a month, but we try to complete the process within two weeks. 

    Oikocredit, like other financial institutions offering mutual share capital, has a provision in its Articles of Incorporation that it may postpone redemptions for up to 5 years. This provision is designed to protect Oikocredit’s stability and especially its borrowers in case of a crisis.  It has never been invoked.  Past performance is not, however, a guide to the future. Your investment is at risk, is potentially illiquid, and repayment of your investment is not guaranteed.

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  • Will income tax be due on dividends?

    The OISF Dividends are paid gross of tax as a Foreign Dividend and it is your duty to declare gross dividends to the HMRC. Tax may be due depending on your circumstances. Our general tax guidance note is available on our website.  There are no Annual Management Charges, fees, commissions or other charges on the dividend.

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  • What age do I need to be to invest in the OISF?

    You need to be at least 18 years old to invest yourself, but you can purchase depository receipts on behalf of a child (provided you obtain parental consent), which will become their own when they are aged 18.

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  • Is it possible for a charity to invest in the OISF?

    Yes, investment in Oikocredit is open to all organisations and eligible individuals. If you have questions about making a social investment as a charity, trust,  or any other organisation, then please don't hesitate to contact us at the UK and Ireland office.

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  • Who do I call if I have a question about my investment?

    Your investment will be a foreign investment in a Dutch registered organisation. You should contact the Oikocredit UK & Ireland office for answers to your questions in the first instance on +44 (0)208 785 5526/8 or at uk@oikocredit.org. If, for any reason, you feel the need to contact Oikocredit International in the Netherlands, the telephone number is +31 (0)33 422 4040.

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  • Who are the shareholder-members of the Oikocredit Co-operative?

    The Oikocredit Ecumenical Development Co-operative Society U.A. (Oikocredit) is a member-owned co-operative. Membership of Oikocredit is currently only open to organisations that are invited to become members and who closely align with Oikocredit's mission and values. To date this primarily includes faith-based institutions, voluntary support associations, partner organisations and the OISF.  Oikocredit currently has around 575 international members among its c. 6000 institutional investors (in Oikocredit and the OISF). 

    For more information, please visit our members page on our international website.

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  • Oikocredit began as a faith-based initiative. Does that influence your work?

    Whilst our roots are ecumenical, our mission is to challenge individuals and organisations to invest their capital responsibly.  

    Our ecumenical roots are neither reflected in our partner selection nor in our outgoing investment criteria.  Rather, the social performance of our investments remains our priority, and we focus on continuous social impact studies to assess the long-term benefits of social financing whilst staying true to our social and environmental mission.

    The sustainable development landscape will continue to grow and change. Oikocredit's aim is to change with it to become the most socially responsible impact investor in the world with a true mix of social, environmental and financial goals; whilst providing a social investment product that allows individuals and organisations to fulfil their own social and environmental aims. 

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  • What is the Oikocredit International Support Foundation?

    Not to be confused with the Oikocredit International Share Foundation (OISF), the Oikocredit International Support Foundation is a Charitable Foundation which undertakes grant-giving work, separate from our investment operations. The main functions of the charitable Foundation are to provide technical, capacity- building grants to some of our project partners and to mitigate currency risk in order to provide responsible, sustainable lending in local currencies.

    Investors can choose to donate their dividend to the Oikocredit International Support Foundation by selecting this option on the application form.

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  • Who are Oikocredit's Support Associations (SAs)?

    An Oikocredit Support Association (SA) is a separate legal entity and independent organisation established to support the work of Oikocredit.  They account for around 80% of the total investment capital of Oikocredit.

    There are SAs throughout Europe and North America. In the UK and Ireland, where there are no SAs, investment can be made directly via Oikocredit's UK & Ireland office.  

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