Awards for Distinction 2017 – Best Private Bank – Philanthropic Services

BEST PRIVATE BANK – PHILANTHROPIC SERVICES

UBS

Some say that 2017 witnessed a watershed for the field of philanthropy and sustainable giving in Asia. In tandem, private banks became increasingly vocal about their ambitions to create structured philanthropic opportunities for their clients.

However, for UBS Wealth Management, 2017 was no watershed since it has long pioneered the movement, intensifying its effort over the last five years, demonstrating its foresight, breadth of offering and ingenuity.

China’s economic dominance does not preclude its need for philanthropic endeavours. Given increasing demand for such projects in the country, UBS increased its industry to cater to the needs of its Greater China market in 2017 through its philanthropic arm, UBS Optimus Foundation. It remains one of a handful of institutions with a representative office in China where the firm oversees the largest number of ongoing projects in the region.

Indeed, donations from the top 100 philanthropists in Mainland China rose from US$1.3 billion in 2010 to US$4.6 billion in 2016, according to a report by UBS Wealth Management and Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government. That represents a staggering growth of 350% in just six years.

In 2017, UBS Optimus Foundation pledged up to US$3.5 million in working capital as the anchor funder of a healthcare DIB in Rajasthan, India, named the Maternal and Newborn Health Development Impact Bond – a bold, refreshingly new development program.

What sets UBS Wealth Management apart from its competitors is its stance on newer, nascent forms of philanthropy such as sustainable investing and impact investing. UBS Wealth Management is also a first-mover in the relatively unchartered territories of impact investing, giving its clients in Asia access to impact opportunities across a range of sectors. In 2017, UBS Wealth Management raised US$325 million for The Rise Fund, a social impact private equity fund managed by TPG Growth, of which 40% came from private banking clients in Asia. The year before, the Swiss private bank raised US$417 million for its Oncology Impact Fund, 60% of which came from clients in Hong Kong and Singapore.

As such, UBS Wealth Management has cultivated a strong ecosystem for its philanthropists who are often united by the various community events it hosts throughout the year. In 2017, UBS ran the extra mile and took its UBS 20/20 group of young social impact leaders to Thailand to provide an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the complex range of social issues along the Thai and Myanmar border.

Christina Tung
Head of Philanthropy Advisory APAC, UBS Wealth Management

“Rapid wealth creation in Asia is directly driving growth in Philanthropy. There is an increasing need for philanthropists to work with communities to tackle some of the most urgent issues faced by the world today. UBS’s global network and experience in advisory allows us to connect like-minded philanthropists and organizations to share best practices, collaborate and find solutions. The UBS Optimus Foundation has driven projects that helped improve the wellbeing of 1.6 million children globally in 2016. To top it off, UBS also believes in the power of investing sustainably, and is committed to directing at least USD 5 billion of client assets in impact investing to support the UN SDGs over the next 5 years.”