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Sharing lessons: Our Development Impact Bond Conference

As the first of its kind, the Development Impact Bond Conference was a significant event. Organised by Palladium as part of our work to develop the emerging Development Impact Bond (DIB) market, the conference was held at Prospero House, central London.

Influential representatives from existing and prospective outcome funders, investors, intermediary agencies, service providers, evaluation and verification bodies, think tanks and those working closely with host governments on structuring impact bonds participated in open discussions throughout the day.

The objective was to share lessons about progress as well as challenges with everyone involved in conceptualising, designing, piloting, implementing, funding, verifying and testing DIBs.

Some stand-out points to take away were:

  • There is a great appetite amongst investors for investment opportunities that will deliver a double bottom line of financial, or social and development benefit return.
  • Trust in robust data – from the logic of what is being collected to and the attribution between the activity and the outcomes, to the quality of what is being collected and how it is being collected –quality is essential to a successful DIB. Verification of this data needs to be undertaken by an independent party whose objectivity is guaranteed. 
  • The high initial transactional costs of establishing a DIB will need to be offset by initial grants from donors, foundations and the private sector in order for the rigor of a model to be trusted by the investors and outcome funders.