By Joshua Franklin
ZURICH (Reuters) – UBS has raised $325 million for a private equity impact investment fund, as the world’s biggest private bank looks to meet wealthy clients’ growing appetite to combine philanthropy with money making.
The Rise Fund, which counts Irish rock star Bono among its co-founders, aims to achieve “measurable, positive social and environmental outcomes alongside competitive financial returns”, UBS said in a statement on Monday.
Impact investing — a term coined in 2007 — grew out of the desire by socially conscious individuals to extend philanthropy to their financial holdings.
The fund, whose total size is around $2 billion, is managed by Bill McGlashan, founder and managing partner of TPG Growth, the growth-capital fund of U.S. private equity firm TPG.
The fundraising represents a relatively minor amount for UBS, which has more than 2 trillion Swiss francs ($2.1 trillion) in invested assets.
But clients want to move more of their money into these kind of investments, according to Simon Smiles, UBS Wealth Management’s chief investment officer for ultra high net worth clients.
“The interest in impact investing and these kind of opportunities among the clients we speak to actually far exceeds the supply of the available opportunities,” Smiles said.
Interest is especially high among millennials and in Asia, Smiles said.
One-third of the funds raised by UBS came from its North America wealth management division, with the rest coming from its international division, especially Asia.
Investments, UBS said, will focus on seven sectors: education, energy, food and agriculture, financial services, growth infrastructure, healthcare, and technology, media and telecommunications.
UBS plans to offer more impact investments to clients, said Christian Wiesendanger, UBS’s global head of investment platforms and solutions in wealth management.
“This Rise Fund,” Wiesendanger said, “is one of many to come.”
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin. Editing by Jane Merriman)