Investors increasingly see benefits from integrating sustainable investing (“SI”) into their portfolios, according to the new Investor Sentiment survey by UBS, the world’s leading global wealth manager.The survey, which polled 3,004 investors and 1,202 business owners across 15 markets globally, which includes the UAE,found that 93% of UAE investors consider sustainable investment a highly important part of their portfolio strategy, driven by returns and values. Likewise, a majority of investors expect SI returns to match or exceed those of traditional investments with69% seeking advice on increasing their portfolio allocation.
Based on the feedback from respondents, smart mobility, education, gender equality and healthcare were listed as the top themes in sustainable investment among UAE investors.
When polled about the stock market, 88% of the UAE investors said that they are optimistic about the stock market for the next 6 months, and35% of the UAE investors are planning to increase their investments in the stock market.
“Investors continue to remain optimistic about the economy and markets, and many plan to increase exposure to risk assets, including a focus on sustainable investments,” said Tom Naratil, President of UBS Americas and Co-President of UBS Global Wealth Management. “With climate change a top concern for investors, many will focus on the progress made at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and any agreed new measures.”
Similarly, the survey shows that 77% of the investors in the UAE that were surveyed are optimistic about their own businesses and 38% are planning to grow their workforce by hiring new candidates. Moreover, as a response to the challenges being impost for the past 6 months, 74% of business owners in the UAE are offering more flexible working hours, more employee benefits (60%), and offering new or larger year-end / spot bonuses (66%) to their workforce.
“Throughout the pandemic, business owners faced many workforce challenges and had to adjust to meet the needs of their employees and customers,” said Iqbal Khan, President of UBS Europe, Middle East and Africa and Co-President of UBS Global Wealth Management. “It’s encouraging to see that a majority of business owners remain optimistic and interested in hiring and investing more in their companies over the next 12 months.”
Regional findings and recommendations
US investors remain optimistic on their region’s economy for the next 12 months (61%) and on the stock market in the next six months. However, optimism declined for both findings compared to the previous quarter.
Optimism among Latin American investors over their region’s economy over the next 12 months dropped slightly to 65% (two percentage points lower than the previous quarter). Expectations for stock market performance also dropped by the same amount to 62%.
Following a spike in optimism in the second quarter, Swiss investor optimism returned to similar levels seen in the first quarter, with 56% optimistic about the 12 month economic outlook. However, stock market expectations dropped significantly, with 46% of respondents expecting the market to perform well (down from 67% in the first quarter).
Europe (ex. Switzerland)
Seventy seven percent of European investors outside Switzerland remain optimistic for the regional economy over the next 12 months. However, their six-month optimism for stock market performance dipped two percentage points to 71%.
Investors in Asia are slightly less optimistic the outlook for their region’s economy over the next 12 months, down two percentage points to 64%. Stock market expectations for the next six months dropped three percentage points to 60%.
For more information and to view the report, visit: ubs.com/investor-sentiment