Our success is made possible through our established and continuously upheld entrepreneurial culture, our independence, and set of values where our word is our bond
Integrity: Our essential value
We conduct our activities, as stewards of our investors’ funds and as partners of our portfolio companies, with the highest ethical standards and with a commitment to independence.
We require that our partners and staff as well as our portfolio companies strictly adhere to applicable rules and regulations. Going further, we are convinced that the deployment of ethics and business integrity frameworks is a strong pillar of good governance and ultimately sustainable value creation.
Excellence and Ambition: Our drive
Our growth and expansion journey have been driven by our ability to bring and nurture talent at BlackFin.
We foster a cohesive team spirit, focusing on our promise to deliver high-expertise investments with superior value and strong sustainability. We invest in our people, and we believe in mutual respect, yielding a level of bond and trust.
We want all BlackFin employees to feel recognised as a contributor to our entrepreneurial success and to take pride in our realisations. We encourage everyone at BlackFin to express their personalities and we are committed to upholding diversity.
Endurance and determination: Our defining character
BlackFin is driven to achieve excellent value-creation sustained by a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
At BlackFin, we are proud of our culture of persistence, straight-talk, and transparency. We address issues, however tough, with an open mind and we decide determinedly, to meet the goals we have set.
We build momentum as entrepreneurs with our portfolio companies and encourage their development and their growth, maintaining this track against all market conditions.
BlackFin Capital Partners is a fully independent firm, run by its four founding partners who have worked together as managers and entrepreneurs in the financial industry for decades. Altogether, the team consists of 35 experienced professionals operating out of offices in Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, and London. Our goals, in conjunction to financial gain, are to build better companies for the clients and communities they serve.
BlackFin specialises in financial services and technology across continental Europe, with an investment strategy to create value for the business itself, investors alike, and for the communities in which the businesses perform. We operate as an active and influential investor, supporting management teams to take their businesses to the next level, and fostering the societies they serve. BlackFin actively supports businesses working towards positive outcomes, such as job creation for areas in need of greater economic gains. As such, we are proud to work towards classifying our funds as promoting ESG characteristics (pursuant to Article 8 of SFDR) and to implement the required ESG disclosures.
Since BlackFin Capital Partners began investing over twelve years ago, we have built an international partnership based on shared values. Our approach has always been to treat non-financial factors as intrinsic to our work whilst supporting successful teams to take their businesses to the next horizon.
We believe that the prolonged success of any business depends on the health of the economic and environmental systems around it. Our sustainable investment policy instructs us that for the companies in which we invest, we take concern of their impact on employees, clients, customers, society at-large, and the environment. Our portfolio managers are inclined to think like business owners, global citizens, and investors.
BlackFin has adopted a responsible investor approach by including Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria both in its investment process and the monitoring of its investments. We believe that including ESG criteria accordingly in our investment strategy brings additional value to companies’ performance. Our ESG approach is also adapted to the specificities of the financial services sector, which are equally subject to strong regulatory requirements.
ESG practices have long been items of interest among BlackFin partners – good behaviour is something that our company embraces, and such responsible practices and standards are to what we subscribe daily – through our internal lively investor discussions and debates in making final decisions, and which import our fiduciary responsibilities. Our strong corporate behaviour embedded in BlackFin’s culture yields a level of bond and trust among our employees, and it is this that is expressed through our investments. Our goals, in addition to financial gain, are to build better companies for the clients and communities they serve.
BlackFin’s responsible investment process covers the identification of ESG, sustainability impacts at the investment period, and the ongoing monitoring of impacts through the reporting of BlackFin-defined ESG indicators, which is performed throughout the holding phase of portfolio companies.
Our in-house responsible conduct derives from BlackFin’s established values, corporate culture, and decision-making bodies. We are keen to conduct lively debates within our teams, encouraging diversity of thought and evaluation when considering a strategy.
During the pre-investment phase, BlackFin considers all ESG risks and opportunities across the value chain. We allow sufficient time and access to perform due diligence, building upon the expertise of independent ESG experts when necessary. The due diligence findings are provided to the Investment Committee. In addition, the completion of an ESG questionnaire is required of target companies to enable the investment team to identify the management’s level of awareness of ESG topics, potential areas of concern, and/or opportunities for improvement.
A due diligence scope may vary depending on the nature of the target, location, and activities of the business, in addition to time, availability, and level of confidentiality of the project. Within the due diligence framework, BlackFin considers any of its pre-defined material thresholds such as an exclusions list, as well as legal compliance, international standards and/or best practices, company operations, potential risks such as liability and reputational issues, and lastly, any opportunities unveiled through the ESG spectrum.
BlackFin notably relies on the SASB Standards of “Financials”, “Services,” and “Technology & Communications” to highlight material ESG risks and opportunities.
Within one year after our investment, BlackFin carries out an ESG review (with the assistance of an independent expert) for buyout investee companies and will provide additional operational support where possible. A discussion on the ESG roadmap is implemented during portfolio companies’ board meetings; this is conducted at least once a year and is aimed to unveil any follow-ups that are needed on relevant objectives. We see this as another opportunity to engage with companies, especially as it relates to more responsible practices where together we can contribute to sustainable goals. This process equally increases management’s awareness on ESG issues and opportunities. BlackFin may also require ESG audits that focus on our listed principles and action plan. The audits help track and monitor overall performance.
During the holding period, BlackFin monitors the performance of the implemented ESG actions associated with the prior deep-dive reviews and established action plan. KPIs have been set, as well as the material ESG impacts – and it is during this period that BlackFin enhances communication both with the asset and external stakeholders as it relates to reporting.
The exit phase represents BlackFin’s opportunity in demonstrating its value-added as it relates to ESG. This could be expressed at management company level and portfolio company level. The enhancement of ESG positive impacts as well as the mitigation of ESG risks during ownership impart confidence to prospective acquirers, allowing for a fluid and profitable exit whilst having added value along the investment cycle.
For its Tech funds, BlackFin aims at investing in companies which contribute to a more transparent, efficient, and reliable financial industry, which position themselves as leaders through their exemplary business practices. BlackFin supports companies innovating to simplify and improve access to financial services, secure data handling, and ensure transparency. Before any investment, the BlackFin investment team evaluates the company on its ESG principles and selects key KPIs to be monitored over the holding period. BlackFin works with its portfolio companies to align its investment strategy with its ESG principles and encourage measurable best practices.
BlackFin believes that enhanced results can be attained from the integration of sustainability risks into investment decisions. We identify sustainability risk by an environmental, social, or governance incident or circumstance, if it transpires, that could cause an actual or a potential material negative impact on the value of an investment.
The potential negative consequences may include financial, legal, or reputational harm to a company that may derive from an impact (or perceived impact) from the natural environment – air, water, or soil; the stakeholders of the entity – comprising employees, customers, and local communities; or from inadequacies in a company’s management structure such as misconduct, corruption, or non-compliance of tax matters.
BlackFin’s value system, philosophy, and approach guide our investors to identify the above-mentioned risks and steer away from them, and/or engage on them to minimise negative impacts on society. In adhering to responsible investment principles, BlackFin Capital Partners excludes several sectors and companies from its investment strategy and policy. These encompass:
Weapons & firearms
Pornography & prostitution
Illegal economic activities including drugs
Activities enabling illegal access to IT systems
BlackFin Capital Partners promotes diversity of talents and is intent on providing equal opportunities to all, irrespective of ethnicity, gender, disability, and background. We support the mission to encourage greater women representation across the private equity industry. We also aim to investigate the diversity of our own teams with respect to gender and ethnicity – by seniority and function.
To align with diversity commitments, BlackFin aims to set the following quantitative objectives within BlackFin’s own investment teams:
To achieve such objectives, BlackFin plans on initiating certain programmes, such as a diversity committee, and mentoring and development programmes.
The blueprint of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) allows society to confront global challenges around social, environmental, and economic development.
BlackFin’s duty as a responsible investor has led us to incorporate the SDGs as means to analyse our contribution.
This method helps to assess the impact of the companies
financed against the SDGs and encourages them to: identify and mitigate negative impact across the value chain; and, increase the positive contribution to society’s needs.
We perform the identification and engagement of SDGs in portfolio companies during the due diligence process as well as the holding period. This enters the associated roadmap that we define with them, and it is something BlackFin monitors in addition to other KPIs and general performance.
Target 8.1 Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth
Goal n°9.3 Increase access to financial services and reliable infrastructure
Goal n°5.5 Ensure full participation in leadership and decision-making
Target 10.5 Improved regulation of global financial markets and institutions
Our approach as a responsible investor is materialised by our commitment to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment, the largest global reporting instrument on responsible investment. BlackFin Capital Partners has been a UNPRI signatory since May 2015. We annually engage in PRI-related reporting to provide stakeholder visibility on our responsible investment practices and continued sustainability progress.
By becoming a UN PRI signatory, BlackFin has committed to the following:
As institutional investors, we have a duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries. In this fiduciary role, we believe that environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios (to varying degrees across companies, sectors, regions, asset classes and through time). In signing the Principles, we as investors publicly commit to adopt and implement them, where consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities. We also commit to evaluate the effectiveness and improve the content of the Principles over time. We believe this will improve our ability to meet commitments to beneficiaries as well as better align our investment activities with the broader interests of society. We encourage other investors to adopt the Principles.
In 2021, we formalised our commitment to fight climate change by becoming a signatory of the Initiative Climat International (iCI), a global sharing platform which brings together and mobilises all private equity firms wishing to make a concrete contribution to the fight against climate change.
More specifically, we have committed to the following:
Disclosure according to EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (2019/2088)
BlackFin Capital Partners has adopted a responsible investor approach by including Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria both in its investment process and the monitoring of its investments. The integration of sustainability risks pursuant to Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 and the transparency on remuneration policies pursuant to Article 5 are described in the ESG policy accessible below.
BlackFin Capital Partners adapted its ESG approach to the specificities of the financial services sector, subject to strong regulatory requirements. BlackFin Capital Partners believes that including Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria accordingly in its investment strategy brings additional value to companies’ performance.
As proof of this commitment, BlackFin is a signatory of the UN-PRI (United Nation Principles for Responsible Investment) and defined its own ESG policy and published its ESG charter (downloadable below). BlackFin is also assisted in the definition and implementation of its ESG strategy by external consultants, PwC Sustainability.
Disclosure on sustainability adverse impacts (Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2019/2088)
BlackFin’s ESG process covers the identification of ESG and sustainability impacts at investment and the ongoing monitoring of impacts through the reporting of ESG indicators defined by BlackFin throughout the holding phase for portfolio companies.
BlackFin monitors ESG data covering various HR, environmental and governance criteria. BlackFin will review the PAIs (Principal Adverse Impacts) as defined by the draft Regulatory Technical Standard to consider their inclusion in the current framework for the evaluation of sustainability factors.