28 October 2022

On 14 October 2022, the Association of Banks in Singapore (“ABS”) launched the ABS Sustainable Private Banking and Wealth Management Guidelines (“Guidelines”), which comprise principles for private banks to integrate sustainability considerations with their business models and practices. In addition, the Private Banking Industry Group (“PBIG”) Sustainability Taskforce launched a common industry training benchmark to upskill private banking relationship managers in the area of sustainability.

ABS Sustainable Private Banking and Wealth Management Guidelines

Developed with technical input from the World Wide Fund for Nature (Singapore), the Guidelines establish a baseline for sustainability practices to be integrated into private banks’ business models, and will cover private banking activities comprehensively, from wealth planning and investments to financing.

The Guidelines aim to promote greater clarity and transparency among private bankers and their clients by framing sustainable investment approaches as:

  • Exclusion: Excluding and avoiding sectors, activities and/or companies from the investment universe based on criteria such as norms and standards, business conduct or values/ethical principles.
  • Integration: Systematically and explicitly including ESG factors in investment analysis and decision making to optimise ESG risk management with return expectations.
  • Thematic: Investing to contribute to environmental or social factors with fundamental investment objectives considered.
  • Impact: Investing with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Common Sustainable Finance Training Benchmark for Private Banking Professionals

The Common Sustainable Finance Training Benchmark for Private Banking Professionals takes reference from the Sustainable Finance Technical Skills and Competencies (“SF TSCs”) developed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) and the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (“IBF”). Of the 12 SF TSCs, the PBIG Sustainability Taskforce recommends that the following four SF TSCs be prioritised as critical and core to private banking relationship management job roles:

  • Sustainable Investment Management
  • Carbon Markets and Decarbonisation Strategies Management
  • Non-financial Industry Sustainability Developments
  • Climate Change Management

These four TSCs have been endorsed by the IBF Private Banking and Family Office Workgroup for inclusion in the skills map for Private Banking and Wealth Management for Relationship Managers. IBF-accredited courses based on these TSCs will count towards meeting the Client Advisor Competency Standards Continuing Professional Development requirements and IBF Certification.

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the ABS website www.abs.org.sg: