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Pandemic Prompts HNW Investors To Embrace Sustainability - UBS

Tom Burroughes

3 June 2021

A study of 3,800 high net worth investors around the world finds that almost 60 per cent of them are more interested in sustainability ideas than before the pandemic erupted, highlighting how COVID-19 has affected attitudes.

The vast majority – 90 per cent – of investors told that the pandemic made them want to align their investments with their values; some 79 per cent said that the crisis made them reassess what is most important in life.

“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 UBS Americas, said. “It is incredibly encouraging to see that purpose-driven investment will be a priority for investors in the years to come. This is a unique moment where wealth managers have the opportunity to help their clients create immense change and better outcomes for future generations.”

The survey found that younger generations turned their attention more to purpose-related investing as a result of the pandemic. Seventy-nine per cent of investors aged 50 and under said the pandemic made them want to make more of a difference in the world, compared with 51 per cent of investors over 50. Nearly three-quarters of this younger demographic also want to develop or update a comprehensive financial plan, the survey showed. 

“Globally, investors are motivated to play their part in making the world a better, more sustainable place. The heightened interest in charitable giving and desire to obtain sustainable investing advice from younger generations is a sign, too, that this mind-set may be here to stay,” Iqbal Khan, co-president of UBS Global Wealth Management, said.

There is a gap between how men and women responded to the crisis. Eighty-four per cent said that they have reassessed their goals amid the pandemic, compared with 76 per cent of men. As investors begin to put the pandemic behind them, 51 per cent of women plan to increase charitable giving compared with 42 per cent of men.

The survey respondents, who are more than 25 years old with at least $1.0 million in investments, came from Argentina, Brazil, mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK and the US. The research was conducted in May this year.