Roughly one-third of UBS’ assets are in sustainable or impact investments as the global firm has made a major push in this space.
“If you look at what we’ve achieved in the [sustainable and impact investing] space, it’s quite impressive,” Sergio Ermotti, group CEO at UBS, said during a press conference. “As of the end of 2016, we had $976 billion of assets — so representing something like a third of our asset base that we manage or have under custody or advisory. And at the end of the first half of this year, we hit the $1 trillion mark for the first time.”
UBS recently held a Sustainable & Impact Investing press conference that was conducted in person and via live video stream across Zurich, London and New York. The same day, UBS was confirmed as the industry group leader in the Diversified Financials Group by Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).
“It’s quite clear this is no longer a niche anymore,” Ermotti said during the press conference. “It is an important business driver and more importantly, it is a business driver because clients want it.”
Stephen Freedman, head of sustainable investing of UBS Wealth Management Americas, and Michael Nelskyla, head of structured solutions Americas of UBS Investment Bank, discussed what UBS is doing strategically on this front in the Americas.
According to Freedman, the Wealth Management Americas division views sustainable and impact investing as a “strategic imperative.”
“The key business case here has to do with the massive intergenerational wealth transfer that we’re expecting over the next decade,” he explained. “We’re talking tens of trillions of dollars. And we know from many surveys the people on the receiving end of this wealth — whether it’s young generations or in many cases women — are more interested in sustainable and impact [investing] than the people holding the wealth right now.”
On the impact investing front, the Rise Fund has achieved “tremendous success” in the U.S., according to Freedman.
Reuters reported in July that UBS had raised $325 million for the private equity impact investment fund.
Also this year, UBS announced a partnership with Rethink Impact, a venture capital investment fund with a gender lens overlay. In March, UBS Wealth Management Americas said it had raised more than $110 million, more than half of which came from UBS clients, for the closing of Rethink Impact.