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Impact investing: UBS matches business practice with philanthropic goals

Speak to people involved in philanthropy about impact investing and lots of contradictory phrases are trotted out. "It’s not new, but at the same time it’s very new," is one. "It’s a great opportunity, but there are lots of challenges," is another. For Mario Marconi, managing director and head of family services at UBS, the concept is simpler. "The idea of impact investing is to promote social and environmental good while at the same time applying an investment logic," he says.

Marconi’s role incorporates responsibility for philanthropy and values-based investment. He concedes that the sector is in its infancy: there’s lots of talk but little action, with plenty of people writing reports but little else.

Back in 2004, Marconi was part of UBS’s push to build a philanthropy offering for ultra-high-net-worth individuals. It’s an area UBS dominates today: UBS ranks top of the global category for philanthropy services in Euromoney’s annual survey, with a clear lead over second-placed Credit Suisse, by 11.9% of total votes to 8.2%.

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