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International Women's Day: UBS unveils gender-lens white paper and initiatives

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In a new white paper entitled Gender-Lens Wealth, UBS Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office explores how wealthy individuals can contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (UN SDG 5) – achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

The paper shows that SDG 5 could benefit significantly from greater input from private individuals, embracing a gender-lens wealth approach that includes policy, business, education, and networking initiatives as well as gender-lens investing and philanthropy.

To support the paper's recommendations, UBS is partnering with UN Women, incorporating a Memorandum of Understanding to create a Gender-Lens Investing Institute.

UBS will continue to provide dedicated support to SDG 5 and female clients via initiatives such as UBS Unique, the UBS Women's Symposium, UBS Global Visionaries, and the UBS Optimus Foundation, which contributed to the white paper.

Zurich, 6 March 2017 – UBS Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office today published a white paper titled 'Gender-Lens Wealth' in advance of International Women's Day on 8 March. The paper recommends ways in which wealthy individuals can contribute to UN SDG 5 - achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

The publication follows UBS's white paper and related business commitments announced at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2017. The UBS WEF paper examined how to mobilize private wealth to help meet the UN's overall SDG agenda. 'Gender-Lens Wealth' shows that SDG 5 could benefit greatly from private support, especially in the fields of policy, business, education, and networking as well as gender-lens investing and philanthropy.

Women still enjoy only 59% of the economic opportunities and economic participation rates that their male counterparts enjoy globally, according to WEF. Women's legal protections are also still underdeveloped.

SDG 5 has received relatively little funding so far, or only 2.6% of donations towards SDG-related causes. Within private wealth, one driver may be that only 2% of wealth managers treat and service women as a distinct group with specific interests, according to analysis by UBS Unique and BCG.

'Gender-Lens Wealth' places a particular emphasis on three key areas which have almost universal relevance for women's professional and personal lives: improving maternity provisions, relieving the burden of unpaid domestic work, and increasing participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

UBS and UN SDG 5

In advance of International Women's Day, UBS has made the following commitments to SDG 5:

  • To support the paper's recommendations, UBS today announces a partnership with UN Women, incorporating a Memorandum of Understanding to create a Gender-Lens Investing Institute. Gender-lens investments include SDG 5-related factors in their decision-making as well as aiming to generate a compelling return. UBS also reiterates its commitment to help launch Align17, a investing and philanthropy platform focused on funding gaps for all SDGs including SDG 5. The Gates Foundation, the SDG Philanthropy Platform, and PwC have expressed interest in collaborating with Align17.
  • In addition, UBS will leverage its existing initiatives to mobilize gender-lens wealth, including: UBS Unique, a new program designed to improve financial outcomes for women and female private clients; the UBS Women's Symposium, a female private client forum; UBS Global Visionaries, a network linking clients with innovators globally in SDG-related fields; and the UBS Optimus Foundation, which has outlined its approach to SDG 5 in a special section of 'Gender-Lens Wealth.'

Sabine Keller-Busse, Group Head of Human Resources at UBS, said: "International companies in particular have the power and resources to boost gender equality within their business. At UBS we take this seriously, not only because it is the right thing to do, but primarily because having a diverse and inclusive workforce helps us to achieve our business strategy – it’s a competitive strength."

Mark Haefele, Global Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at UBS Wealth Management and UBS Wealth Management Americas, said: "Some of the most significant obstacles to female equality and empowerment are regulatory or policy-driven. As part of our gender-lens wealth approach, we encourage investors and philanthropists to partner with policymakers and other stakeholders when tackling SDG 5."

Simon Smiles, CIO for Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Wealth Management and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, said: "UBS's wealthiest clients are well placed to address long-term challenges such as SDG 5. They can engage in gender-lens impact investment and/or philanthropy, as well as using their considerable influence to advance SDG 5-related causes via policy, business, and education initiatives."

Joelle Tanguy, Director of Strategic Partnerships Division, UN Women, said: "We are delighted that UBS will partner with UN Women on a forceful and innovative initiative on gender lens investment and increasing resources for women’s empowerment worldwide."

To view the full white paper, visit www.ubs.com/cio. For more on UBS's commitment to women and the brand campaign, visit www.ubs.com/women.

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