Best for philanthropic services in Singapore 2023
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Best for philanthropic services in Singapore 2023


As a post-Covid philanthropy rush changes the face of Asia wealth management, few private banks seem better positioned than UBS to lead the way.

Like their regional peers, LH Koh and Tommy Leung, UBS’s Asia Pacific co-heads of global family and institutional wealth, find that wealth planning and philanthropy are increasingly going hand-in-hand with families. Philanthropic engagement has become a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have” component of a family’s legacy.

Along with its more conventional investment advice business, UBS’s experts in family advisory, succession planning, wealth planning and philanthropy are playing a fast-growing role in client interactions.

Here, the bank’s philanthropic arm, the UBS Optimus Foundation, is hard to rival. It actively partners with clients to deliver creative and customizable solutions to social and environmental issues. The team numbers 130 cross-disciplinary philanthropy experts based in 12 cities, one of the largest such dedicated philanthropy teams in banking.

The foundation is well-skilled thanks to multiple years of field experience across a full spectrum of domains. This includes philanthropy programme design and management, the governance of charities and foundations, impact monitoring and evaluation, and grant making and management. UBS brings to the table first-hand working knowledge of the full range of structures and execution platforms, some with cross-border elements requiring compliance advice.

This means philanthropists in Singapore – and in Asia – choose to partner with UBS because it takes their passions personally, providing a variety of giving options to maximize impact.

UBS, along with clients, supports more than 50 programmes in southeast Asia and 25-plus programmes in Greater China. Their areas of focus include health, education, child protection systems and tackling the causes and effects of environmental degradation and climate change.

In all these areas and more, UBS offers a comprehensive and highly competitive suite of products and services.

In 2022, for example, the bank launched Singapore’s newest Donor Advised Fund to help philanthropists structure giving with the lowest minimum contribution. This is done in a personalized and meticulously managed way to remove administrative and financial burdens of creating a client’s own independent foundation.

In the last few months, its clients committed just over $20 million in Donor Advised Funds aimed at improving lives and transforming communities across Asia and beyond.

The bank is recognized for innovative financing mechanisms for social impact, thanks in part to having developed the world’s first Development Impact Bond for education in 2018. As that initiative caught on, UBS in 2021 launched a pioneering initiative to invest $100 million to support vulnerable children and adults in developing countries. In this case, investors receive returns based on verified social and environmental impact.

This scheme uses an innovative blended finance structure with philanthropic first loss funding, or funding put aside to absorb any initial losses. This, UBS says, has unlocked additional private capital.

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