ESG at GS: Bridging the Gaps - Pediatric Immunizations
This article is part of our ESG at GS series for the Careers blog where we highlight a theme from our Environmental, Social and Governance Report and hear from some of our people who do ESG-related work at Goldman Sachs.
At Goldman Sachs, we look to harness the firm’s capabilities as a global financial services company and the unique skillsets of our people to help address economic and social challenges.
One way we implement this is by finding innovative commercial solutions to challenging societal issues. Maud Le Moine, a vice president in our Investment Banking Division in London, worked with a client, the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm), to help bring to market a $300 million floating rate vaccine bond to support the immunization of children in the developing world. We talked to Maud about the issuance.
Q. Can you tell us how the bond works?
Maud Le Moine: Sure. IFFIm raises funds for immunization programs disbursed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, by issuing vaccine bonds in the capital markets and repaying these bonds with future donations — the bonds are backed by long-term donor pledges and offer a market-rate return to the investors. The financing provided by these bonds in turn enables the immunization of children in the developing world, which demonstrably helps save lives. The $300 million bond we worked on in 2017 was IFFIm’s fourth syndicated issuance in the USD market.
Q. So capital markets can help solve problems with access to healthcare?
MLM: Yes, definitely—and our role is to help facilitate access to those markets. With IFFIm, it’s very satisfying to see how helping a client through a market-based approach to financing can support their immunization programs to deliver essential care to children in the world who need it most.
Q. IFFIm has raised funds this way before. Can you give us some of the background?
MLM: IFFIm was established in 2006 and Goldman Sachs led their inaugural bond, a $1 billion 5-year benchmark issuance. So, before “social bonds” even existed as a concept, IFFIM was a long-standing social bond issuer, and, as I mentioned, this most recent bond was their fourth access to the USD market.
Q. What are your thoughts about this type of bond?
MLM: First, on a personal level, I find it exciting and fulfilling to see how capital markets can have an impact in improving the health and well-being of children. It’s been a privilege to work with a client that embraces this approach and has been a leader for so long. Second, there is great promise in “social” financing helping to solve other problems—and I hope to be able to leverage my experience to help other clients achieve their respective missions.
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