Insurance Asset Risk Awards 2021 - UK & Europe

Passive Manager of the Year - UBS Asset Management

Passive investing strategies could be considered simpler than active methods but, there is a complexity involved in it, especially when each customer has a different risk appetite or environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements.

UBS Asset Management is well positioned to take care of the nuances as it has been managing index assets for over 35 years. Its long history has earned it the distinction of managing the second largest range of currency-hedged exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and sustainability ETFs in Europe, spanning the spectrum of strategies from market cap indices to benchmark-orientated quantitative strategies.

UBS AM's ability to target niche corners of the market also sets it apart from its contemporaries. The asset manager has displayed some foresight in launching funds before they became mainstream. An example is its new Gender Equality ETF, which was launched in December 2017 and was the first fund of its kind to put gender equality and sustainability at its core. On top of that the fund also donates part of its fee to its philanthropic foundation UBS Optimus.

Last year in the pandemic, UBS launched two smart beta indices, one to participate in the performance of the renminbi fixed income government and policy bank bonds, and another for ESG in global corporate indices.

Judges commented on the strong product innovation and evidence of several different themes and ideas reaching launch alongside a broader track record and growing passives business.

As of September 2020, UBS managed $397bn in index assets for clients from over 30 countries.