Investors reassess priorities in wake of pandemic, UBS says

Eight in 10 UAE investors surveyed said they wanted to make a difference in the world

Inflows into sustainable funds in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 17 per cent to $185.3bn, according to Morningstar. Photo: Getty Images
Inflows into sustainable funds in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 17 per cent to $185.3bn, according to Morningstar. Photo: Getty Images

The Covid-19 pandemic has made people reassess their priorities, with 90 per cent saying the health crisis has made them want to align their investments with their values, according to UBS.

The pandemic has also made 79 per cent of people reassess their life goals, according to UBS's latest Investor Watch survey.

Some 68 per cent of those surveyed around the world said they wanted to make a difference and the same number said they wanted to find a purpose. In the UAE, these figures were even higher – at 80 per cent and 78 per cent, respectively.

"The pandemic has prompted many investors to re-evaluate what matters most to them and now have a renewed desire to contribute more to benefit society," Tom Naratil, co-president of UBS Global Wealth Management and president of the bank's Americas division, said.

"This is a unique moment where wealth managers have the opportunity to help their clients create immense change and better outcomes for future generations.”

Investments into assets considered to be responsible from an environmental, social or governance (ESG) perspective continue to grow in popularity. Inflows into sustainable investment funds grew 17 per cent in the first quarter of this year to a record $185 billion, according to data provider Morningstar. The total amount of assets in sustainable funds rose 19 per cent to almost $2 trillion.

UBS's Investor Watch survey, which gained responses from 3,800 investors in 15 countries, found that 59 per cent said they were more interested in sustainable investment than they were before the pandemic.

There was a marked difference in appetite for sustainable investing by age, with 79 per cent of younger investors (aged below 50) saying the pandemic made them want to make more of a difference, compared to 51 per cent of those over 50. Women (84 per cent) were also more likely to have reassessed their goals as a result of the pandemic than men (76 per cent). They were also more likely (51 per cent, versus 42 per cent) to increase charitable giving.

"Globally, investors are motivated to play their part in making the world a better, more sustainable place," Iqbal Khan, co-president of UBS Global Wealth Management, said.

"The heightened interest in charitable giving and desire to obtain sustainable investing advice from younger generations is a sign, too, that this mindset may be here to stay."

Published: June 7, 2021 08:30 AM

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