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Stan Chart to review ESG funds

Separately, the bank has hired a former UBS executive to focus on the ultra high net worth segment in Singapore.
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Standard Chartered Private Bank has launched a proprietary ESG products review process, which it calls “ESG Select”, in a move to combat greenwashing, according to a statement from the firm.

The new review process will be applied to all wealth solutions that seek to be positioned as a sustainable or ESG product on the bank’s platform. The bank noted that the review is also applied to ESG funds offered to retail banking clients.

The methodology of ESG Select is tailored to each asset class, with funds and discretionary portfolio solutions following a similar assessment process, according to the statement. Meanwhile, bonds and structured products are separately assessed on different sets of criteria.

“We have seen increased interest from many of our high net worth clients to include a sustainable element in their investment portfolio,” Eugenia Koh, head for sustainable investing and strategic engagement at Standard Chartered PB, said in the statement.

“Launching ESG Select will help us address greenwashing concerns and we are confident that our clients will benefit from a more rigorous and systematic investment decision journey.”

Some fund managers have been guilty of greenwashing, Hortense Bioy, London-based director for passive strategies and sustainable research at Morningstar, said previously.

For example, Bioy found that some managers have re-purposed existing funds by changing product names and strategies. However, only some have truly changed to follow an ESG mandate.

Even regulators have joined the combat against greenwashing. In April last year, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission required firms with ESG mandates to disclose information on how they include ESG factors in their investment approach. Following this move, the regulator has listed mutual funds on their website last month that meet new ESG disclosure requirements.

New appointment

Separately, Standard Chartered Private Bank has appointed Gerald See as Singapore-based executive director and senior client partner. In this role, he will be focusing on ultra high net worth (UHNW) clients in the Lion City, according to a statement from the firm. See will report to Gavin Chia, market head for private banking for Singapore and Malaysia.

The bank declined to comment on the number of staff it has focusing on the UHNW segment in the Lion City. However, a Singapore-based spokeswoman said its clients include 20% of Asia’s billionaires.

See was previously at UBS, where he was a director in the bank’s global family office and ultra high net worth division. Before that, he was a venture capitalist focused on both early stages and pre-IPO start-ups, according to the statement.

FSA sought more information from UBS, but the bank was not able to comment in time for publication whether it will be looking for a replacement for See.

Chia’s appointment follows the hire of Cedric Lizin, who has been named as regional head for Asean and South Asia and global head for global south Asia community. Like Chia, Lizin was previously at UBS, where he was the head of wealth management for Dubai. Lizin replaced Srinis Siripurapu, who is returning to India to spend some time with his family.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.