Awards for Distinction 2013 – Philanthropic Services


AFD2013_Best Private Bank - Philanthropic Services

UBS Wealth Management

Yan Lau

Yan Lau
Head of Family Services, Asia Pacific
UBS Wealth Management

As Asian wealth matures, an increasing number of the region’s affluent are making philanthropy a priority. In Singapore, individual charity contributions, which include philanthropy, have increased significantly every year. China, meanwhile, has seen explosive growth in private foundations, a function of both recent liberalisation of the sector and low public trust in existing charities. Indian high net worth individuals donate as much as 3.5% of their total income to charity in a year according to a recent industry report.

Along with this heightened awareness of and support for charitable causes, there is a definitive shift towards a structured and deliberate approach to giving. A large number of private banks in Asia have partnered with their clients to find the worthiest causes and the most efficient means to support them, often donating their own time and resources to do so.

Of these, one private bank has demonstrated a commitment to transposing global best practices to Asian philanthropy with a sense of immediacy that has been missing thus far. UBS Wealth Management, the deserved winner of the Asian Private Banker Awards for Distinction, Best Private Bank – Philanthropic Services, has amply demonstrated a commitment to helping donors and clients realise their philanthropic ambitions in the most efficient manner.

In 2013 the bank registered the UBS Optimus Foundation in Hong Kong, 14 years after it was first established in Switzerland. Since its inception, the Foundation has supported 250 projects in 75 countries with contributions from 12,000 donors totalling in excess of CHF120 million (US$132 million). Because UBS covers all the administrative costs of the Foundation, all donations are routed directly to charitable projects.

One of the first financial services firms to launch an impact investing offering globally, UBS’ ambitions in this space in Asia are equally impressive – to be the default advisor for all major philanthropic donations in Greater China. Its collaboration with the Li Ka Shing Foundation-associated We R Family Foundation in Hong Kong as well as the numerous events in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Taiwan that it hosted throughout 2013, will most certainly put it in pole position to realise this ambition.