Singapore’s private banking industry sets green standards and upskills workforce

SINGAPORE — A set of guidelines released Friday outlines how private banks can incorporate sustainability practices into their business models.

The new framework was developed by an industry working group and covers a wide range of financial activities, from wealth planning to investments and financing.

Bank of Singapore Managing Director Bahren Shaari says it’s time for a common language and framework so clients can better understand key environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing considerations. .

Mr Bahren, whose bank was part of the task force, said investors increasingly expect more transparency, clarity and guidance on how they can approach sustainable investments, which tend to be guided by principles such as the exclusion of sectors and companies that do not meet ESG criteria.

It also incorporates the notion of businesses that do good while making money.

The Association of Banks of Singapore (ABS), which launched the new guidelines, said each bank is at a different stage when it comes to sustainability, so they should apply the guidelines gradually, starting with the areas in which they are well established, and then improving processes in other areas. .

Meanwhile, the Private Banking Industry Group’s (PBIG) Sustainability Task Force has developed a training framework to enhance the skills of private banking relationship managers in the area of ​​sustainability.

The training programs will be prioritized around four technical skills, including sustainable investment management, climate change management and the ability to understand sustainability developments in non-financial industries and their impact on the financial sector.

Mr. Benjamin Cavalli, Head of Wealth Management for Asia-Pacific at Credit Suisse and Head of the Task Force, said private banking professionals need to be well equipped to better support their clients in sustainable investment.

Ms. Gillian Tan, Deputy Managing Director for Development and International at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said there is growing demand for sustainable investments among high net worth individuals and family offices.

She added that the training repository will enhance the ability of private bankers to advise their clients in these areas.

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