This month, UBS made a groundbreaking move, announcing that it would recommend sustainable investing over traditional investing to clients around the world. The big Swiss bank would even recommend it to retirement plan clients—a move that raised some eyebrows, given that the U.S. Labor Department is weighing a rule that would limit environmental, social, and corporate governance, or ESG, options in such plans.
Yet the decision by UBS (ticker: UBS) is likely to be followed by other wealth managers, some experts say. “This is a great first-mover advantage in the chess match of ESG investing,” says Jeff Gitterman of Gitterman Wealth Management, which has offices in Manhattan and New Jersey.
“It’s a game-changer like Larry Fink’s statement” in 2018, in which the BlackRock CEO said that “to prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”
For UBS, it’s also good business.