One in three client conversations at Standard Chartered Private Bank is about incorporating sustainable investments into portfolios, says Vic Malik, head of investment advisory for Asean, South Asia and global South Asia community.
Speaking to Citywire Asia, Malik said since January there has been a 40% growth in investments into funds and bonds targeting sustainable investing globally.
He said what’s occurring more frequently than before is these days clients are keen to learn more about impact investing, its opportunities in capital markets and the possibilities of implementing the strategy into portfolios.
To meet this growing demand, last June StanChart onboarded three ESG funds: the BNP Paribas Aqua fund, Allianz Global Sustainability fund and BlackRock Impact World Equity fund.
The funds are now available globally through the bank’s booking centres in London, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The Allianz and BlackRock funds have seen good uptake, Malik said, while the BNP Paribas fund caters to a relatively niche clientele as it specifically invests in water and water resources.
‘Perhaps actually in Singapore, it is the notion of water as a strategic resource that's better understood than anywhere else. We can only position it where we think it will resonate with clients.'
According to the executive, Asian high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are behind their global counterparts when it comes to ESG considerations in investments and the key reason is knowledge gap.
In fact, a recent StanChart survey quizzing 421 HNWIs in China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore revealed that 70% of the investors were less knowledgeable about sustainable investment but had the potential for greater engagement.
The study found that investors were looking to increase the proportion of sustainable investments in their portfolios to an average of 19% over the next three years, with Chinese HNWIs raising the allocation to 23%.
Currently, about 86% of the survey respondents have invested in ESG themes, accounting for up to 15% of their fund investments.
As such, going forward the bank is considering a number of other instruments to tap into the ESG space, including private equity funds, structured credit or structured products, Malik concluded.