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UBS commits to help mobilize private wealth for public good

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In its white paper for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, UBS unveils a blueprint for channelling private wealth towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) – one aspect of the WEF’s Annual Meeting theme “responsive and responsible leadership”.

  • According to the white paper's findings, which included contributions from the WEF, private wealth could play a much bigger role in funding the SDGs, yet most initiatives ignore it.
  • Private capital is likely to be critical in achieving the SDGs of: zero hunger; quality education; good health and well-being; affordable and clean energy; sustainable industry, innovation, and infrastructure; and climate action.
  • After raising a record sum for its Oncology Impact Fund in 2016, UBS will offer a range of new thematic and pooled impact investments and commits to join other major institutions to support Align17 – a WEF Young Global Leaders initiative to create an investing and philanthropic platform focused on addressing SDG funding gaps.

Zurich, 16 January 2017 – UBS today presented a white paper titled Mobilizing private wealth for public good at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos, Switzerland. UBS believes that this is a critical element of responsive and responsible leadership - the WEF Annual Meeting’s theme this year.

Private wealth could play a much greater SDG role

The paper, authored by experts from across UBS, concludes that most initiatives overlook private wealth's huge potential in addressing SDG funding gaps.

  • In 2015, global household wealth totaled USD 250trn, according to Deutsche Bank. USD 5-7trn a year is needed to meet the SDGs, according to the Brookings Institute.
  • Private wealth investment tends to be longer-term and hence aligned with the SDGs. It also has fewer regulatory and other constraints than institutional capital.

Private capital is likely to be critical in funding specific SDGs

Private investment can play an especially key role in funding the SDGs related to: zero hunger; quality education; good health and well-being; affordable and clean energy; sustainable industry, innovation and infrastructure; and climate action.

Private investment can be incentivized by mainstreaming SDG-related impact investing, enhancing SDG funding gap data and measurement, standardizing investment terms and disclosures, and connecting investors with opportunities via platforms and other initiatives.

UBS and the UN SDGs

In its white paper, UBS makes the following commitments:

  • After raising a record USD 471 million for its Oncology Impact Fund in 2016, UBS will direct at least USD 5 billion of client assets into new SDG-related impact investments over the next five years to help mainstream the asset class and its contribution to the SDGs.
  • Opportunities offered by UBS will include: an Impact Multi-Vintage Program, which will diversify clients' impact portfolios over a number of fields and vintage years; access to a diversified impact portfolio via The Rise Fund, which is led by TPG Growth, a leading private equity manager; and at least one other major thematic impact investment per year.
  • UBS will also help launch Align17, a philanthropy and investment platform focused on SDG funding gaps. The Gates Foundation, the SDG Philanthropy Platform, PwC, and TPG Growth and The Rise Fund have expressed interest in collaborating with Align17. Align17 is named after the seventeenth SDG of partnership for the Goals.
  • Finally, UBS will leverage its Optimus Foundation as well as its UBS & Society, Global Philanthropists Community, Global Visionaries and Social Innovators initiatives to identify and meet SDG needs.

Sergio Ermotti, Group CEO at UBS and Chairman of the UBS Optimus Foundation, said: "The SDGs present a critical opportunity to promote sustainable growth for all. We encourage policymakers to follow our recommendations to engage private capital investment in the SDGs. We also urge potential partners to work alongside our new and existing initiatives to build solutions to meet these vital goals."

Mark Haefele, Global Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at UBS Wealth Management, said: "Policymakers and other stakeholders must tackle the dearth of information around SDG funding needs and eliminate shortfalls in incentivizing private investment. Our new initiatives are designed to address these gaps and help make the world a more sustainable place."

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 typically long-term investors who see sustainability as a critical future challenge. UBS will continue to innovate and help them address sustainability issues that are of concern to them and humanity at large."

Bill McGlashan, Founder and Managing Partner of TPG Growth, said: "The private sector can be a robust source of solutions to the complex social and environmental problems facing our society. Funding and helping to build businesses designed to address these challenges is a powerful and necessary step toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Rise Fund is proud to have UBS as a partner in mobilizing private wealth to invest in businesses delivering measurable positive impact."

To view the full white paper following the panel discussion, visit UBS's new sustainable and impact investing webpage at

About UBS

We are committed to providing our clients with superior financial advice and solutions while generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders. Our strategy centers on our leading wealth management businesses and our premier universal bank in Switzerland, enhanced by our strong asset manager and investment bank. These businesses share three key characteristics: they benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital-efficient, and offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook. Our strategy builds on the strengths of all of our businesses and focuses our efforts on areas in which we excel, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which we operate. Capital strength is the foundation of our success.

UBS Group AG


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