DBS Private Bank announced on March 19, that it plans to further its sustainability agenda by having more than 50% of its assets under management (AUM) in sustainable investments by 2023, up from its 41% as at March 19.

The bank says it defines sustainable investments as those rated BBB and above, based on MSCI ESG Ratings.

In the same statement, the bank’s private banking arm says it will seek to encourage its clients in the region to adopt environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards in their investments.

The bank adds that it will widen and deepen clients’ access to its ecosystem of social enterprises (SEs) in the region to fund, support and develop these enterprises, which include next-gen tech leaders that are innovating breakthrough solutions to positively impact communities.

The initiatives are part of DBS Private Bank’s three-pronged sustainability approach that drives ESG investing, advocate responsible business practices and create social impact.

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To boost sustainable investments, the bank says that it will expand its product suite to include over 10 sustainable investment solutions that comprise a range of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and private equity investments.

SEE:DBS Private Bank raises over $1.6 bil in AUM with Barbell Income Fund and sustainable investment products

The bank says it will also review its clients’ portfolios to improve their ESG ratings through targeted advisory and recommendations.

In addition, it will formalise how ESG is assessed through the launch of a portfolio-weighted ESG rating methodology in 2Q2021, the first initiative of its kind in Asia.

“Sustainable investments have become increasingly important in value-adding investment portfolios in the long run. However, their pace of growth is being compromised as there is still no clear definition for sustainable investments today. There is also no single established industry benchmark to rate ESG,” says Joseph Poon, group head of DBS Private Bank.

“We decided to take the lead in challenging this status quo, and were among the first in Asia to integrate MSCI ESG ratings into our product suite. By taking this step, we are not only availing greater transparency of our offerings, but are also holding ourselves accountable to our pledge to boost our share of sustainable investments,” adds Poon.

Shares in DBS closed 13 cents higher or 0.5% up at $28.51 on March 19.