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UBS Makes Exclusive List for New World Bank Standard

By Miriam Rozen April 18, 2019

UBS ranks as the sole major wirehouse to join 60 other financial institutions on a roster unveiled this month by the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. as adopters of its new standard for impact investing.

The IFC defines impact investing as when investors “seek to generate positive impact for society alongside financial returns in a disciplined and transparent way.”

UBS and the other adopters of the IFC’s newly unveiled “Operating Principles for Impact Management” collectively have committed more than $350 billion to impact investments, the IFC reported in an April 12 announcement. As part of their pact, the adopters agreed they will attempt to bring “greater transparency, credibility and discipline” to the impact investing market, according to the IFC statement.

Chief among UBS and the other adopters’ commitments: to have outside, independent agencies verify the investments they classify and market as having “impact.”

UBS already had “more rigorous standards than some of our peers” for its impact investing classifying, according to Andrew Lee, who is head of Americas sustainable and impact investing at UBS Global Wealth Management.

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Getting on the IFC’s roster of participants is a way for UBS to support and corral others into helping “mainstream” impact investments, Lee says. “I think about this as being a first step” to improving “a market that has been very fragmented in terms of approaches to impact,” Lee says.

Among the other well-known institutions on the IFC roster are BNP Paribas Asset Management, Calvert Impact Capital, Credit Suisse, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Prudential Financial.