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Industry Spotlight > Wirehouse Firms

UBS Wealth Unit Launches Group to Focus on Inclusive Investing

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UBS Group AG’s wealth management unit launched a group for investment strategies related to diversity and inclusion, with its goal to generate both social benefits and returns.

The team will offer investments that focus on promoting equality, expanding opportunities and improving outcomes for underrepresented or marginalized groups, the Zurich-based bank’s wealth management unit said Thursday.

The inclusive investing group, led by Karen Sunderam, will offer ways for clients to steer their money toward asset-management firms that are partly owned by minorities and products led by portfolio managers that self-identify as such, including women, racial or ethnic minorities, veterans, people with disabilities and LGBTQ individuals.

Wealth managers like UBS are seeing growing demand among clients for investment choices that align with personal values and social good. Firms are responding with products tailored for environmental, social and governance factors, fueling a boom in the ESG market, which Bloomberg Intelligence estimates will surpass $50 trillion by 2025.

Whether retail investors or ultra-high-net-worth individuals, “they’ve told us what they want,” Lynette Jefferson, head of sustainable and inclusive investing solutions at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in an interview. “They have been very specific about the types of investments that they’re looking for to promote social objectives.”

Other large banks have also carved out groups within their wealth-management divisions that invest with diversity and inclusion in mind.

A year ago, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s U.S. wealth management unit created an inclusive investing team led by general manager Jeanne Sun that seeks to better serve women and other underrepresented groups.

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