UBS suggests wealth clients opt for sustainable investing

Firm says ESG portfolio can provide similar or better results than traditional investments.

UBS Group will offer sustainable investments as its preferred solution for wealth management clients worldwide as the COVID-19 crisis underscores the need for more socially and environmentally responsible financing.

“The pandemic has brought the vulnerability and interconnected nature of our societies and industries to the forefront of investors’ minds and shown that sustainability considerations cannot be ignored,” Tom Naratil, co-chief of the bank’s $2.6 trillion global wealth business, said in a statement Thursday.

While traditional investments will remain the best option in some circumstances, a 100% sustainable portfolio can deliver similar or better returns, UBS said.

This year, major sustainable indexes have outperformed their peers in traditional investing, said the bank, which currently manages $488 billion in core sustainable assets.

“The shift in preferences toward sustainable products and services is only just beginning,” said Iqbal Khan, the other co-head of the wealth business. “Sustainable investments will prove to be one of the most exciting and durable opportunities for private clients in the years and decades ahead.”

Not all such investments are equal and a successful sustainable portfolio should be diversified and flexible to respond to new opportunities and new risks, said Mark Haefele, the wealth unit’s chief investment officer.

[More: Research casts doubt on claims of ‘widespread’ ESG outperformance]