Business

Wealthy US investors slow to adopt sustainable strategies

Most wealthy investors say that doing good for society and the environment are practices they live by, but only 39 percent globally are investing in sync with these values, according to survey results published early Wednesday by UBS.

The real stunner in the UBS research: Just 12 percent of wealthy individuals in the U.S. have at least 1 percent or more of their portfolio assets in sustainable investments versus a majority of the wealthy surveyed in China (60 percent), Brazil (53 percent), and the United Arab Emirates (53 percent).

Most wealthy investors say that doing good for society and the environment are practices they live by, but only 39 percent globally are investing in sync with these stated values, according to survey results published early Wednesday by UBS.

The real stunner in the UBS research: Just 12 percent of wealthy individuals in the U.S. have at least 1 percent or more of their portfolio assets in sustainable investments versus a majority of the wealthy surveyed in China (60 percent), Brazil (53 percent), and the United Arab Emirates (53 percent).

From June to August, UBS surveyed more than 5,300 investors in 10 markets who have at least US$1 million in investable assets.

While the gap between living a sustainable life (which 65 percent of those surveyed say they do) and investing sustainably is “stark,” it’s also an opportunity that can be addressed through more education, says Andrew Lee, head of sustainable and impact investing, Americas, in the chief investment office at UBS Global Wealth Management. Lee was speaking at a media event Tuesday in New York to announce the results.

The survey found 80 percent of investors have discussed sustainable investing with their financial advisors, yet only 34 percent of those discussions were initiated by the advisor, Lee says. “Not only do we need to educate the investor base, we need to educate our internal advisors to get them to have these conversations.”

Read the full story at Barron’s.

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