Female billionaires are big drivers of social change

Ms Peggy Dulany, a fourth- generation member of the Rockefeller family, was a speaker at the UBS forum. She said that over the past 10 years, philanthropy has really taken off in Asia.
Ms Peggy Dulany, a fourth- generation member of the Rockefeller family, was a speaker at the UBS forum. She said that over the past 10 years, philanthropy has really taken off in Asia.PHOTO: UBS

Their number in Asia is also growing faster than that of male counterparts, says UBS

Increasing numbers of women across the world are accumulating wealth and power, particularly in Asia, making them a key market for private bankers, said an executive at Swiss bank UBS.

Ms Olga Miler, managing director at UBS Wealth Management, told a private forum organised by UBS that Asia leads the way in wealth creation, with the number of female billionaires growing faster than that of their male counterparts. More than 50 per cent of Asian female billionaires are self-made, she noted, compared with 19 per cent in the United States and 7 per cent in Europe.

Over the last two years, UBS data found that "in stark contrast to men, women are much more focused on investing to achieve positive social change", said Ms Miler.

For instance, female investors could invest $2.3 trillion in improving social good by 2021, according to UBS data.

Ms Miler added: "Based on our observations from collaborating with Asia's wealthiest families for over 50 years, women have been controlling greater average wealth than men.

"They are also becoming more influential in family businesses and philanthropic enterprises."

  • >50% Percentage of female billionaires in Asia who are self-made.

  • 19% In the US.

  • 7% In Europe.

Last week's forum, part of the UBS Unique programme set up in January to "better serve female clients", also featured Ms Peggy Dulany, a fourth-generation member of the Rockefeller family.

Ms Dulany, who founded non-profit organisation Synergos Institute, noted that philanthropy has really taken off in Asia over the past 10 years, adding that it is important for families to reflect on their values and how effective they can be when it comes to philanthropy.

With women playing a bigger role in that, banks such as UBS want to step in and offer their services.

Ms Miler said: "We want to increase the financial confidence of one million women by 2021, and today (it) is about giving them the right access to advice, the right content aligned to their values and aspirations, and the confidence that their investment decisions can have the impact they are striving for."

She added that the aim is to build a community of women "diverse and powerful in helping us change the face of wealth management in Asia".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Female billionaires are big drivers of social change'. Print Edition | Subscribe