EXCLUSIVE: Santander Cautiously Optimistic About Equities In 2023

Amanda Cheesley Deputy Editor London 17 March 2023


Ben Covey, UK-based head of private banking at Santander, talks to WealthBriefing on the outlook for 2023, investment opportunities and his plans to expand in the second half of this year.

As Santander Private Banking prepares to expand in the second half of 2023, Ben Covey at Santander said that he’s cautiously optimistic about the outlook for equities in 2023.

Speaking exclusively to WealthBriefing in London this month, Covey, head of private banking, said: “We have increased our private banking division in the UK significantly over the past five years, rising from zero to 54 private bankers today and we will expand further in terms of advice and capacity in the second half of this year.”

As Spanish-based Santander is an established multi-national bank, with €230 billion ($247 billion) under management, he believes that the expansion makes sense, providing clients with access to global expertise.

The bank delivered a strong set of results in 2022, against a difficult backdrop, with profit before tax up 2 per cent, compared with the previous year, driven by increased income and lower costs. The outlook remains uncertain, the bank continued, as inflation has eroded real disposable income, with the prospect of a recession ahead.

Nevertheless, Covey is cautiously optimistic about the outlook for equities in 2023, saying that it is more favourable than in 2022 and it is a good time to invest.

ESG focused investments is a strong theme for Covey and it will be an increasing one. Last year, Santander Asset Management launched Santander Prosperity, its first social investment fund classified under article 9 of the EU's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation.

Formed in collaboration with RED, the fund will invest in multi-theme, global equities of innovative companies whose products and services aim to tackle challenges in health and wellbeing, nutrition and education, and financial inclusion, the firm said. It is also now available in Mexico.

At least 30 per cent of the revenue of the companies in the fund portfolio will come from activities related the United Nation’s 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, helping to solve the main social challenges.

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