Singapore-based Endowus has launched ESG advised portfolios, which allows investors to invest in multi-asset sustainable solutions.
Endowus claims that the digital offering is a first in Asia. It is open to all Singapore-based investors, excluding US persons.
The firm believes that Singapore’s drive towards sustainable investing is aligned with investor sentiment. An Endowus survey of 1,100 participants in Singapore shows that 93% of the respondents indicated that ESG investing resonates with them. However, only 28% of all surveyed held some form of ESG investments.
Survey findings show there are common themes that explain investors’ hesitation to fully embrace ESG funds. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents acknowledge a lack in their own understanding or knowledge of ESG investing, while 43% pointed to a lack of good available options as a key hindrance.
“The newly launched Endowus ESG portfolios are aimed at addressing these key issues while meeting growing investor interest in investing sustainably and fostering positive change – both of which also support Singapore’s national policy,” the firm said.
Launched in October 2019, Endowus is also the first and only Central Provident Fund (CPF) digital adviser. The firm aims to also include its ESG portfolios in the CPF, allowing users to invest their pension funds in sustainable investments.
Endowus’s ESG portfolios are comprised of actively managed funds, three equity and three fixed income products, and make use of their institutional share classes with 100% trailer fee rebates, facilitating access to ESG products at the lowest achievable cost.
The fund managers include JP Morgan Asset Management, Natixis Investment Managers’s Mirova, Pimco, Schroders and UOB Asset Management-Robeco.
A spokesman of the firm claimed the ESG funds in the platform are unique in the region multi-fold:
- Two of the funds are not available on any other platform;
- For three of the six funds, Endowus worked with the fund manager to launch the product or a new share class previously unavailable in Singapore; and
- Endowus has exclusive fees or clean/institutional share class access for four of the six funds.
“We have implemented a robust due diligence process on the selection of funds and fund managers, so investors are provided with only the best ESG products,” Samuel Rhee, chief investment officer at Endowus, said.
When the firm assessed the ESG funds, it looked at the firm-level commitment to ESG investment and integration, as well as how the strategy is designed to incorporate and take advantage of ESG information.
“These fund managers have committed their resources to have built proprietary ESG rating systems so they could have independent ESG views and do not depend on external third party ratings. Most of them have a dedicated sustainability investment team that focuses on ESG research and engagement, and provides strong support to the investment team,” the firm writes on its website.
Hong Kong fund launch
In other news, UBS Asset Management has launched three Hong Kong-domiciled funds.
The Swiss-based asset manager is focusing on the potential of the wealth management connect scheme.
The three products within the UBS (HK) fund series are the Asia Allocation Opportunity, Asia Income Bond, and Global Income Bond funds.
The funds, which the Securities and Futures Commission authorised for sale to Hong Kong retail investors last month, are primed to be offered to investors throughout the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) when the wealth management connect scheme is eventually launched.
“We plan to extend our domestic product shelf to satisfy the growing demand from investors in the Greater Bay Area for diversification opportunities across asset classes and geographies,” said Markus Egloff, head of wholesale client coverage, Apac, at UBS Asset Management.
The wealth management connect scheme, which was announced in June 2020, will allow people in the GBA to carry out cross-boundary investment in wealth management products distributed by banks presence in the GBA. It has southbound and northbound components, depending on the residency of the investors.
Residents of mainland in the GBA will be able to invest in eligible investment products distributed by banks in Hong Kong and Macao; and residents of Hong Kong and Macau will be allowed to invest in eligible wealth management products distributed by mainland banks in the GBA.
The Chinese, Hong Kong and Macau financial regulators signed a memorandum of understanding to set up supervisory, enforcement and liaison arrangements for the scheme last month.
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