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Wealthy families pour US$30.7t into ESG assets: report

London

SUPER-RICH families are increasingly including sustainability and ethics in founding principles of their private investment firms, according to Fabrizio Campelli, Deutsche Bank AG's global head of wealth management.

"Family offices are now putting ESG in their investment charters," he said, referring to environmental, social and governance matters. There are some family offices in California that can't invest less than 40 per cent of their assets in ESG, he said.

Demographic shifts are encouraging a surge of activity designed around investments to combat climate change, address inequality or simply to encourage companies to operate in a more sustainable fashion. Assets managed using a broad definition of the approach reached US$30.7 trillion at the start of 2018, about a third more than two years before, according to a report funded by a group of financial companies, including Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

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Family offices that place a premium on impact and ESG include those of film director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis; the Omidyar Network started by EBay Inc founder Pierre Omidyar, and Blue Haven Initiative, which is run by Liesel Pritzker and Ian Simmons.

More family offices are poised to integrate ESG and impact as millennial heirs inherit fortunes. Those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s are set to take possession of as much as US$30 trillion, according to research firm CB Insights.

Deutsche Bank's wealth-management arm is accelerating its impact-investing strategy in response to client demand, adding ESG ratings to assets and more funds focused on the area, according to a statement on Monday. The move comes as Germany's largest lender shifts resources to wealth management while slashing thousands of trading jobs worldwide.

"We're doing this because clients are asking for it," Mr Campelli said, referring to the Frankfurt-based bank's ESG programme. "You don't need to compromise the performance of investments. You're just helping to add purpose."  BLOOMBERG