• The flagship conference was very well-received, with strong attendance by Asia’s wealthiest
  • In 2020, UBS was the first financial institution to make sustainable investments our preferred solution to private clients investing globally
  • Core sustainable investments surge 62% y-o-y to USD793 billion last year, making up nearly 20% of all client invested assets

Singapore, 16 July 2021 – UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager and a leader in sustainable finance, recently launched its APAC Sustainable Finance Conference 2021, connecting clients, corporates and ESG thought leaders to mobilize private wealth towards a sustainable future.

The event brought together 35 world-renowned speakers who covered key trends in the sustainability space, including topics such as working towards Net Zero in Asia, and how private investors can reinvent the way they invest to position for and benefit from this green transition.

Edmund Koh, UBS Asia-Pacific President said: “I am excited to share that our flagship conference was very well received, and saw strong participation by many of Asia’s wealthiest business owners and institutional investors. It is heartening to see increased awareness among our clients in the adoption of ESG practices, and we hope to catalyze this further.”

“In line with our new global purpose on – Reimagining the power of investing. Connecting people for a better world - we announced our commitment to be net-zero in our own operations by 2025. Last year, we became the first financial institution to make sustainable investments our preferred solution to private clients investing globally. And core sustainable investments surged 62% year-on-year to USD793 billion in 2020, making up nearly 20% of all client invested assets.”

August Hatecke, Co-head of Wealth Management Asia-Pacific and Country Head of UBS Singapore, noted that the bank has seen strong client demand and growth in sustainable investing in recent years, with UBS’s flagship 100% sustainable investing cross-asset discretionary mandate reaching a major milestone, when it more than tripled to USD3.5 billion in APAC by Q1 2021, up from USD1 billion at the beginning of last year.

“We believe that investments that support a sustainable future will likely benefit financially over the long term. In Asia-Pacific, we’ve seen more of our clients, particularly those from the millennial generation, appreciating the importance of sustainable development. About 70% of our clients in Asia are entrepreneurs who are now becoming more focused on sustainability. And the reason is because they’ve found that sustainable investments can generate equal, or superior returns compared to traditional investments.”

Desmond Kuek, Divisional Vice-Chairman in UBS Global Wealth Management and Head of the Sustainable Finance Committee in UBS Global Office of Sustainability & Impact, highlighted that policymakers can powerfully shape ESG commitments and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future.

“Growing investor demand and government support are likely to drive issuance and could lead to a doubling of total Asian sustainable bonds outstanding within the next three years. Here in Asia, the sustainable bond market has grown significantly since 2018. Year-to-date issuance in Asia has reached USD31 billion, already surpassing the annual levels seen in the last three years,” said Mr Kuek.

Indeed, the rise in green issuances is becoming apparent and in 2020, UBS supported 33 green and sustainability bond transactions globally. Within the APAC region, we’ve recently completed nine deals, one of which was for the first ever public sustainability-linked bond issuance for a real estate company in Asia, and we expect this strong momentum to carry on.

In another session covering the impact of America’s re-entry to the Paris agreement, Suni Harford, President of UBS Asset Management and UBS Group Executive Board sponsor for Sustainability and Impact, spoke with Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. Among other things, Professor Sachs explained that there is now a political change taking place globally, with leaders realizing that there are options that work for growing economies, for increased jobs, and for financial markets to decarbonize in a practical way.

Other key speakers at the UBS APAC Sustainable Finance Conference 2021 included:

  • Ralph Hamers, Group CEO of UBS AG
  • Mario Knoepfel, Head of the Sustainable Investing Advisory for APAC at UBS GWM
  • Loh Boon Chye, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Exchange
  • Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative

UBS in Singapore

Singapore is one of our top two major international booking centers for UBS's wealth management business in the region, the headquarters for UBS's investment banking business in South Asia, and APAC hub for fx, rates and credit.

About UBS

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. UBS is the largest truly global wealth manager, and a leading personal and corporate bank in Switzerland, with a large-scale and diversified global asset manager and a focused investment bank. The bank focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital efficient, and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.

UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 regions and locations, with about 30% of its employees working in the Americas, 31% in Switzerland, 19% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 20% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs over 68,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Media contacts: 

Adeline Lee +65 9753 2480; adeline.lee@ubs.com

Rachel Mui +65 9172 2587; rachel.mui@ubs.com