As major players involved in financing the economy and as long-term investors, French insurers have made a commitment to the public authorities to support the country’s economy affected by the health crisis and have decided to set up a €1.5 billion investment programme with Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. It will consist of three tranches and will be mainly invested in equities.

Supporting SMEs and ISEs1 in the industrial and service sectors

Initially, a first tranche will be aimed primarily at asset managers of ‘NOV’ investment funds and asset managers partnering with insurers for the benefit of SMEs and ETIs, without any sector-based focus. A first payment of over EUR 100 million was made on 29 May 2020 in the NOVA2 fund, which invests in listed companies resident in France in the industrial and service sectors.

Contributing to the recovery of the tourism sector

The second tranche of approximately €150 million will be implemented over the summer. It will be designed to finance companies from the tourism sector through crowdfunding platforms and an equity investment fund.

Strengthening health sovereignty

The final tranche of at least €600 million will be dedicated to the healthcare sector and will include three funds. Their investments will contribute to strengthening health sovereignty and will be made in particular in the areas of research, infrastructure, logistics and healthcare services. Their implementation is planned for October.
The governance of this tranche will be structured around an Investors Committee and a Scientific Advisory Board composed of leading healthcare experts.
The managers of the new investment funds will be selected through a tender process. So far, more than 60 asset managers have expressed interest in funds focused on tourism and healthcare.

Measuring the impact of these investments

It is within this framework that investors wanted to promote a sustainable economic recovery by also innovating in terms of extra-financial criteria. Thus, any unlisted investments carried out will be conditional on the integration of sustainable development considerations into the company and on setting objectives in this respect. In addition, extra-financial criteria will have to be systematically taken into account in the selection process of any company and certain undertakings, such as those that use or produce thermal coal will be excluded.

The financial and extra-financial impact of the programme will be assessed throughout its implementation in order to report, among other things, on job creations, the proportion of women in management positions, the carbon footprint, and relocated production.

“Once again, we are delivering on our commitments and making progress in implementing the exceptional measures taken by the sector to address the health crisis. With this investment programme, we are playing our role fully as regards the sustainable financing of the economy,” said Florence Lustman, President of the Fédération Française de l’Assurance.

[1] Intermediate sized-enterprises, INSEE definition