BDO UNIBANK, Inc.’s sustainability-themed unit investment trust fund (UITF) saw higher assets under management (AUM) in 2020, following the global trend of an increase in environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-themed investments.

The AUMs of the bank’s ESG UITF stood at P99.4 million as of end-2020, rising by nearly a third (32.1%) from the P75.2 million seen in 2019, the lender said in a statement on Wednesday.

It also climbed by 79% from the P55.5 million AUM level in 2016, which was when the fund was started.

“While the fund is still small, it has the potential to grow in size and importance as more investors are consciously looking for companies that protect the environment, are socially responsible, and practice good governance in a sustainable manner,” BDO said.

Meanwhile, the UITF’s returns were at 13.95% and 19.9% in the second half and the fourth quarter of 2020, respectively.

The bank noted the fund’s growing AUMs and higher return performance mirror the growth in global AUMs, which jumped 29% to $1.7 trillion in the fourth quarter last year.

Through the UITF, clients can invest in a fund that covers several “socially responsible” companies, BDO said.

The Sy-led lender’s income dropped 36.2% to P28.2 billion in 2020 from P44.2 billion a year earlier due to increased loss provisions amid the crisis.

BDO shares closed at P105.60 apiece on Wednesday, down by 90 centavos or by 0.85% from its previous finish. — L.W.T. Noble

Source: BusinessWorld