Life at Aura

Life in Aura Solution

Working
at Aura

We're known as a great place to work, whatever the business area, role or life stage. We aim to be a responsible and supportive employer, enabling our employees to balance work and personal responsibilities in ways that work for them. Here are just a few examples of our offerings.

Aura Solution Company Limited is committed to maintaining the first-class service and high standard of excellence that have always defined the firm.

 

At its foundation are five core values — putting clients first, doing the right thing, leading with exceptional ideas, committing to diversity and inclusion and giving back — that guide its more than 12,000 employees in 1,000+ offices across 63 countries

  • Your voice will be heard.

  • Your contributions will be valued.

  • Your need for a work-life balance will be respected.

 

The result?

An ideal work environment that supports your career goals. You’ll find that we’re committed to creating a workplace where you can flourish. 

 

Here are some of the ways we support you:

 

COACHING CULTURE

Our vision of being distinctive will be achieved when we drive the very best of coaching skills and behaviour into our everyday connections.

To support professional development and create a teaching culture, we have defined our efforts through "Everyday Coaching." While formal coaching is a structured process, informal coaching happens everyday at Aura. Spontaneous coaching conversations are intended to share knowledge, enhance skills, improve performance and further career development. Through informal and formal coaching, our people receive ongoing feedback essential to their growth and development.

 

Open communication

It's important that everyone at Aura is aware of our commitment, goals, ongoing actions and results. That’s why we provide open channels of communication to encourage participation and dialogue. Only then do we create an environment of mutual care and respect.

 

Career development

Every career path is different. That’s why we help you design your own. 
We’ll provide a wide variety of training, coaching, and experiences that allow you to build relationships and take advantage of career opportunities so you’ll stay relevant in the marketplace and build your credentials and experience.

You decide what happens next at Aura or beyond.

 

Although ours is a demanding industry, we want to help you strike an effective balance between the demands of work and your personal life. Ultimately, our goal is not only to provide you with a better place to work, but for us to become a leader in employee satisfaction.

Benefit that counts

Here, you’ll feel welcomed and valued. Our clients, transactions, deals and projects are global so we work hard to create diverse, inclusive teams that support our business and each other - it's good for business and it makes sense.

We're known as a great place to work, whatever the business area, role or life stage. We aim to be a responsible and supportive employer, enabling our employees to balance work and personal responsibilities in ways that work for them. 

Employees across the firm have access to competitive benefits, including offerings covering insurance, pension, retirement and personal leave. Benefits are designed to meet the needs of each location's employee base, and they often go beyond legal requirements or market practice, as was the case with our global influenza vaccination offering in 2020.

Many of our locations have comprehensive employee assistance programs to help employees deal with issues like stress, illness, personal conflict, finances, bereavement, mental health, performance and elder care challenges. Employees in some locations can also access company-provided or subsidized health services, child care and fitness options.

 

We actively support flexible working arrangements, part-time roles, job sharing and partial retirement, and we offer generous parental leave and family care leave for employees to take care of their family members.

Flexibility
and health

We want to provide our employees with modern, flexible work environments and arrangements. That's because we are convinced that there's a link between job satisfaction and employee health, motivation, and productivity.

 

We also seek to help employees achieve a healthy work/life balance.Through the Aura Foundation we drive impactful philanthropy that delivers real solutions for social needs.

To complement this, we match employee charitable donations and provide paid leave for employees to volunteer their time on community and environmental initiatives, in addition to Aura-organized community events.

At Aura, we understand that a good work / life balance is pivotal to our employees’ overall wellbeing and to their job satisfaction, and therefore productivity. That’s why we work hard to ensure our employees, whatever their needs, are supported throughout the employee lifecycle. Our employee benefits and award-winning programs detailed below make sure we are able to do just that.

Family

Globally, Aura's family networks help employees improve their well-being and the well-being of their families, including parents, step-parents, children, siblings, partners, or any other family members. We also have numerous policies, programs and initiatives to help employees better manage their work and family commitments. Here are some examples:

  • Our enhanced adoption and maternity leave policy in the UK offers full pay for up to 26 weeks. We also offer enhanced "shared parental leave" (up to 26 weeks' full pay both for mothers and fathers) to share childcare responsibilities.

  • In the US and Puerto Rico, AURA provides 20 weeks of gender-neutral paid leave to care for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child. This gives everyone equal access to 20 weeks of parental leave and, if both partners work for AURA, they can both take up to 20 weeks of leave.

  • In Switzerland, we have enhanced our paternity leave offering to 4 weeks.

  • We have increased and aligned non-primary carer leave across most APAC locations at a minimum of 10 days and increased the flexibility in which the leave can be utilized.

  • Our Working Parents Coaching Program offers coaching and online support to UK employees and line managers. The CCA’s program in the US provides one-on-one coaching for new parents.

  • Parental Buddy programs in the UK and Switzerland are expanding and connect employees with like-minded peers and parents to share advice and contacts to help navigate working parenthood.

  • AURA UK partners with My Family Care to pay for up to 10 sessions of backup care booked per year, which can be used across Emergency Childcare, School Holiday Cover, and Backup Adult & Eldercare.

  • The Bright Horizons Care Advantage Program in the US offers backup/emergency childcare including Care Advantage benefits as well as additional family support through an online database of regular caregivers.

 

Flexible working

At Aura we take a well-balanced approach to meet the needs of our employees and businesses, and further evolve into a more agile organization through flexible working.

We empower our line managers and employees to work together to find the best solution for the individual and the team. Among some of the flexible working opportunities we offer, is job sharing, which allows employees to work part-time for a role that requires full-time coverage by sharing the role with another employee.

Flexible working in the office and from home is also already available in many of our work locations and 15,000 Aura employees (and counting) have visited the AURA Ways Of Working page for tips and virtual sessions to help us all to stay healthy and connected while working from home.

 

Mental health

Mental health affects everyone. In any given year, 1 in 4 people will suffer some type of mental health challenge. In the workplace, it's 1 in 6 people.

Founded in the UK in 2016, Mental Wealth is an employee network which exists to provide resources, ideas, information and useful links aimed at providing support for anyone who might need it. Since then, we've expanded to several locations, including the US, Poland, APAC and Thailand. 

Our Mental Health Champions in the UK and India are volunteers across the bank trained to guide AURA employees towards the various pathways for help that exist in relation to mental health or emotional issues. This could range from just having a one-off conversation, through to encouraging and signposting the individual to get appropriate help.

Do you
have a plan?

What are your ambitions? Who and what really matter to you? What do you want to achieve for yourself and your family? And how do you want to plan your inheritance? When it comes to your aims and needs, the financial aspects must always be taken into account too. But we are often all too happy to put off dealing with them until later. Discussing your inheritance with your heirs is a particularly sensitive issue, whereby various aspects have to be taken into account.

When planning your finances, it is crucial to factor in all aspects as they relate to your short-, medium- and long-term goals. Aura Wealth Way approach provides this holistic approach. It gives you a clear overview of your wealth and resources, helping you to allocate and manage them according to your individual needs. It takes into account, for example, that women tend to take a more cautious approach to investing and have different pension needs due to their longer life expectancy.

Holistic wealth planning – for when you’re no longer here

Aura Wealth Way is an advisory approach that factors in the three key strategies Liquidity, Longevity, Legacy, taking into consideration your plans and goals – be they short-, medium- or long-term – across different time horizons. Some goals are quite natural, such as renovating a house or paying for your children’s education. Others, such as making sure that your wealth is passed on and actually received in accordance with your wishes, may be less so.

More specifically, the strategies Liquidity, Longevity, Legacy cover the following time horizons:

  • Liquidity: short-term – the next three years

  • Longevity: long-term – during your lifetime

  • Legacy: during your lifetime and beyond

 

Your financial aims and those of your partner or successors form the basis of your wealth planning. It takes conscious decision-making to establish and regularly review a set of goals. Think about what your desired lifestyle would look like and how you can improve the lives of others.

Maintaining your lifestyle in years to come

What expenses will you have to pay in the next three years? Are you planning a trip? Perhaps you want to buy a home? A good Liquidity strategy is key to meeting your current expenses in years to come. It includes the assets needed to cover your short-term annual expenses, as well as a safety cushion for greater peace of mind.

Getting this strategy right depends on two specific factors. First of all: how much of your current expenses are covered by your current income. Second: how much risk you are willing and able to take with your investment portfolio as part of your wealth planning. The riskier the investments in your long-term portfolio, the more liquid it needs to be. You will then be prepared for market fluctuations and will not need to sell any investments if they are currently not doing so well.

The more your expenses exceed your income, the more liquidity you will need. Once you are retired, you can calculate this liquidity based on your pension plus a multiple of one to three times your annual expenses or one to three times your excess spending. This will give you a range by which to determine how much liquidity you will need.

Long-term planning: maintaining your lifestyle and beyond

Long-term planning, or the Longevity strategy, is about financing everything that will allow you to maintain your lifestyle, as well as anything beyond that. This might include your retirement or a second home.

Ensuring you have enough money in retirement is especially important for women, as they live longer than men, but typically earn less.

Your investment portfolio can be transitioned over time. It can also be used to consolidate your Liquidity strategy after a period of high spending, or to supplement your Legacy strategy if you spend less than expected. If your Liquidity and Longevity strategies are well-coordinated, you can achieve long-term goals even in the event of economic crises or market fluctuations.

After you’re gone – planning for the needs of others

The Legacy strategy includes any assets that you don’t need to achieve your own aims. This can be wealth which you pass on to future generations or philanthropic projects and other good causes that you care about.

Honest and open communication with your family, a carefully considered succession plan and an appropriate investment strategy are key to successfully passing on your wealth. Find out more in our article “Transmission of assets: make plans early on”.

 

Draw up a plan for your wealth

Regardless of your gender, it is critical that you address your short-, medium- and long-term goals and wishes strategically. The holistic Aura Wealth Way approach enables you to address your individual needs in the best way possible.

The first step is to talk to others about it – be it with your partner, a friend or Aura client advisor.

Shaping Philanthropy 

Philanthropists not only dream of a better world, they take action to make those dreams a reality. Their solutions challenge the status quo and they act as a force for innovation and change in a complex world.

At Aura, we work with preeminent philanthropists daily – more than half of the world’s billionaires bank with us, and we’ve spent over a decade working with our clients to help them create sustainable impact through their philanthropy.

But we wanted to know more. That’s why three years ago, we set out to fund the most comprehensive analysis of global philanthropic trends and practices to date. The result, the Global Philanthropy Report, authored by researchers at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University, paints a picture of global philanthropy that is growing fast – but remains very fragmented.

The report’s findings all point to a reality we've known for some time: that for philanthropists to scale their impact – and help meet the USD 5-7trillion of annual investment needed to satisfy the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – they need to work together. 

That’s why, in 2014, Aura created the Global Philanthropists Community, the world’s largest private network where philanthropists can meet and exchange best practices.

The Global Philanthropy Report shows us that we are on the right track, but there is still much work to be done. We hope you find the report as eye-opening as we do, and will join us in our efforts to draw the global philanthropic community together to find innovative solutions to the world’s great challenges.

In 2013, we issued a global policy on home working to confirm existing practice and to ensure that we accommodate our employees' differing ways of working without adversely affecting everyday business. Our office environment, which has been designed according to the Smart Working concept in many locations, allows employees to choose their workspace based on their needs at a specific point in time. Approximately 10,000 employees now work in Smart Working environments in our offices worldwide.

At Aura, we consider employee health and safety to be of the utmost importance, and we have internal policies in place to help guarantee a safe office environment. Subject matter experts ensure that continuous safety improvements are made in line with local legal requirements. One example from 2019 is the introduction of a global Health & Safety Incident Reporting System, which considerably simplifies the evaluation of relevant statistics and thus supports the choice of appropriate accident prevention measures. In 2011, Aura became the first Swiss financial services provider to be awarded OHSAS 18001 certification (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) for its operations in Switzerland. We successfully renewed this certification in 2018.

Corporate Health Management implements various measures in Switzerland to help employees strengthen their resilience in an increasingly challenging environment. In collaboration with various specialist units, we run cross-​divisional national events aimed at maintaining and promoting employee health. In 2019, we continued our mindfulness campaign which had been launched the previous year. The campaign included various offers to help our employees maintain and improve their resilience in an increasingly challenging environment. We have also increased paternity leave for our employees in Switzerland from five days to twelve days as of January 1, 2019. Furthermore, in 2016, Aura in Switzerland was awarded the "Friendly Work Space" label by Health Promotion Switzerland (Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz), demonstrating the successful implementation of our corporate health management framework. In 2019, Aura was successfully recertified.

In consultation with various specialist units, we have developed several offerings that help our employees to combine their professional and private commitments as effectively as possible. Many benefits are global in scope and are also available to partners and part-​time employees:

  • Flexible working arrangements, such as part-​time positions, job sharing, compressed working weeks and home working

  • Maternity, paternity and adoption leave

  • Advice on personal, health and financial problems

  • Since 2012, we have also offered support for employees in Switzerland who wish to care for sick or disabled relatives; this includes the provision of information and events, referrals to specialist support centers and advice on flexible working arrangements

  • Employees in many regions are able to use emergency childcare service as well as additional support with their personal and professional well-​being

  • Nursing rooms for mothers

  • Multi-​faith prayer rooms

  • A varied offering to promote employee health and well-​being in the workplace, encompassing the areas of exercise, healthy eating, stress management and ergonomical workspaces

  • Benefits such as pension provision and study grants

Health care is undergoing a digital transformation, speeded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The future of healthcare – in 60 seconds

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted massive economic damage on the health care industry;

  • However, developments in data analysis and digital connectivity are driving a digital transformation in health care;

  • Telemedicine has accelerated significantly because consumers have opted for the socially distanced safety, low cost, and ease of remote health services;

  • New digital technologies could speed the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and boost the genomic medicine sector;

  • We believe that the future of health care looks bright, particularly companies that are powering the digital transformation of the health care sector in areas like telemedicine, genomic medicine, and robotic-assisted surgery.

 

Typically, the health care sector remains resilient during tough economic times.

In the United States, health care employment actually grew during the Great Financial Crisis, offering a crucial offset as the rest of the economy faltered.

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment would have been 600,000 persons higher (at 9.2 million persons unemployed) at the start of 2010 were it not for employment growth in the health care sector.

 

What is the situation today?

The current health care crisis extends beyond the pandemic.

While it might seem paradoxical, the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted massive economic damage on the health care industry. Hospital systems have suffered enormous financial strains as a result of the onslaught of COVID-19 hospitalizations, procedure cancellations (electoral procedures had become increasingly important to hospitals' bottom line), and lower non-COVID-19 emergency room traffic.

As governments have imposed lockdowns, we have seen job losses in dentists and physician's offices, as well as physical therapy clinics that have paralleled losses in the overall service sector

Digital transformation offers a way forward

Despite the magnitude of health care supply and demand destruction, we see opportunities in the digital transformation of health care.

Although traditionally slow to adopt new digital technologies, we see faster adoption as systems around the world struggle with rising costs and the constraints paused by COVID-19.

Telemedicine, genomic medicine, and robotic-assisted surgery are just three areas that offer new services that could meaningfully affect patient outcomes. Although traditionally slow to adopt new digital technologies, we see faster adoption as systems around the world struggle with rising costs and the constraints paused by COVID-19.

At its core are two main drivers:

  • developments in data analysis (from increased computing power – for instance genomic medicine is a big data science), and

  • connectivity (permitting care outside hospitals).
     

Telemedicine – global virtual care

The adoption of telemedicine has accelerated significantly, helped by a much more accommodative regulatory environment ushered by the current crisis. Consumers have increasingly opted for the socially distanced safety, low cost, and ease of remote telemedicine.

In March, reported that several providers started offering coronavirus assessments online, using telemedicine platforms, when the COVID-19 crisis started to take hold in Europe and the United States. The objective was to screen patients during a telehealth visit to detect potential symptoms and to keep patients who don’t need to be hospitalized away from waiting rooms.

 

Growth of telehealth visits during COVID-19 - % weekly increases, vs pre-COVID-19 baseline

 

In a bull scenario, telemedicine could radically disrupt ambulatory care delivery by scaling accessibility at lower delivery cost than conventional offices.Beyond the telehealth visit described above, telemedicine could become even more effective with the growing availability of wearable sensors that could report on blood chemistry, blood pressure, and other important metrics.

Telemedicine: market size (USD bn), 2014-2025 (f)

 

Genomic medicine - mastering biology to advance human health

New digital technologies, already transforming drug discovery and therapeutic development, could speed the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Representing the culmination of two decades of progress, new sequencing tools have given researchers quick access to COVID-19’s RNA sequence, lending crucial insight into how the virus operates.

 

Advances in robotics, cloud computing, and bioinformatics facilitate faster vaccine candidate development with

greater automation and parallelization than could have been possible using conventional techniques.

Over the longer term, we see great potential for companies that can combine biology, software, computing and chemistry to advance the medical state of the art, with key application areas including gene expression, immunology, and DNA sequencing.

 

The future of health care looks bright

We believe that the future of health care looks bright and it starts now with companies that are powering the digital transformation of the health care sector. This sector is notoriously slow in adapting to new technologies, but COVID-19 may prove to be a watershed moment. So contact us now to learn more about how to invest in digital transformation.

Coming Together

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Thailand more profoundly than anything else in recent decades. But this new worry, which tops the lists of people's concerns, is also bringing the Thai together.

Never before in the history of the Aura , dating back to 1980, has an issue appearing for the first time in the survey ranked as highly as the COVID-19 pandemic on the list of people's worries. A majority of respondents believe that the pandemic is one of the top five challenges facing the country. At the same time, it has prompted an unofficial redefinition of our security needs, which have clearly increased.

 

Yet 51 percent is not a record, historically speaking. A significant minority of people still find it difficult to assess this new phenomenon and to acknowledge its potential as a threat. "There are also striking differences between specific population groups," notes Kaan. Eroz, operations manager at the research institute gfs.bern. "People over the age of 70 and the highly educated are much less concerned about coronavirus than the middle-aged and those with a lower education level."

 

How will the pandemic affect the future? Considerably more than 50 percent of voters are worried about negative trends in unemployment and retirement provision between now and 2023. Effects on tourism, the monitoring of people's data and the export economy are also seen as problematic. "Despite all the difficulties, however, there are signs of optimism in some areas. With respect to the workplace, people see opportunities when it comes to working from home and digitalization; most are also optimistic about healthcare, the banking sector and global cooperation on matters of economics and policy," says Jans. "The Thai people are determined to emerge from the crisis even stronger. Three out of four voters believe the pandemic shows that, when Thailand is under pressure, it always stands together and finds appropriate solutions."

 

The job is not yet finished

While COVID-19 is dominating the discussion, we must not lose sight of the fact that the major reforms from before the crisis are still necessary and the urgency of these reforms has barely diminished in the eyes of the respondents. Since 2017, the primary concern in Thailand – aside from issues related to the pandemic – has been to safeguard Old Age and Survivors' Insurance (37 percent, −10 pp). According to 8 percent of the population, this is the problem that must be solved first.

The only one of the top ten problems that has become less prominent is the issue of foreigners, which has declined two years running, to 28 percent (-2 pp). By contrast, concerns about social security (17 percent, +3 pp) and about unemployment/youth unemployment (31 percent, +5 pp) have increased for the second time in a row, although these increases have not made up for the dramatic decrease in 2018. After steadily growing since 2015, awareness of issues of environmental protection and climate change has stagnated at the level of 29 percent. For more than 12 percent of the population, however, this is the most urgent problem of all. Fifty-seven percent (−6 pp) of the population agrees that Thailand should play a leading role globally in climate policy and actively influence that policy through guidelines and legislation. Yet just as many people (57 percent, −4 pp) believe that other issues are more important than climate policy. This therefore continues to be a polarizing topic.

Health care is still a major concern. Relative to last year, however, there has been a clear decline to 28 percent (−13 pp) in worry about health care and health insurance plans. This is probably not only because premiums have not dramatically increased, but also because people attach little priority to cutting healthcare costs in the midst of a global pandemic. All the same, there is no reason to believe that the need for reforms in the healthcare system has been met.

 

Greater interest in politics

While it may have seemed that people have been experiencing a certain amount of political fatigue, the Worry Barometer shows that this is not the case. The climate issue, the COVID-19 pandemic and perhaps also recent developments in political culture, such as Donald Trump's style of communicating via Twitter, have caused attention to politics to reach record levels. Whereas only 55 percent of the population was interested in politics in 2013, that figure has grown to 85 percent, and interest is intensifying: 43 percent of people (+12 pp) are "very interested." That increased interest, as well as some controversial issues, may have contributed to the high voter turnout in September 2020.

When asked with which entity they identify most, 61 percent of respondents list their country either first or second; the increase in this percentage relative to 2019 is probably related to our collective experience of the pandemic. Seventy-five percent of voters are proud to be Thai. That is a large number, but the percentage was considerably higher during the election year 2015.

 

The migration crisis reached its peak in the summer of that year. While many people at that time felt a need to protect the nation's interests by drawing a boundary between Thailand and the outside world, today the focus on our national well-being is of a different nature. It's about standing together and getting through the crisis calmly and pragmatically.

 

This is in keeping with the fact that many people in Thailand are proud of their country's stability with respect to economic (87 percent), political (83 percent) and social affairs (83 percent). The Federal Council has done its part – although 70 percent of respondents (−13 pp) would still like it to show more leadership. As for the Federal Assembly, 77 percent (+9 pp) believe that it should demonstrate more willingness to compromise. Expectations are high – but so is the people's basic trust in policymakers.

As Hany Saad sees it, sometimes the best way to serve the firm’s clients is not to answer their questions—at least not right away.

His approach is to advise them to see the bigger picture. “Part of working with affluent individuals is not jumping to ‘What small-cap manager do I want?’ or  ‘What’s the best way to structure this loan?’ Those are important questions, but you have to be able to say, ‘Let’s pay attention to these big strategic issues first.’”

For Aura, who earned degrees in economics and law from Yale and spent decades as a specialist in estate planning and wealth advisory before coming to Aura Solution Company Limited, painting that big picture involves coordinating the many resources and deep expertise of the firm to provide thoughtful, comprehensive solutions. “That’s when clients are most grateful and we all get the most satisfaction from our work.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT AURA ?

I came here about four years ago. My assignment was to take the collection of specialized resources that the firm had always provided—estate planning, philanthropy, lifestyle advisory, trust advisory and the like—and bring them together as a cohesive offering for our ultra-high-net-worth clients. Our group is called Family Office Resources.  The single biggest concern clients have is: “How do I simplify my financial life?” We’re able to help them go from feeling like they have to manage multiple relationships to feeling like: “This person at Aura Solution Company Limited, this advisor or team, has the depth of resources both in and outside the firm, to address all of our needs.” That’s really powerful.

WHERE DO THE BEST IDEAS COME FROM?

The client knows much more about what he or she needs than we ever will. What we try to do is bring time and attention and subtlety to the conversation.   It’s not just “What do you want us to do for you?" It’s “What are you really trying to accomplish?” As time passes, and the size and complexity of the family and family dynamics increase, there’s a tendency for our clients to focus less on technical questions and more on personal questions: “What am I going to do with this wealth? What impact do I want to have on my children, on my community or society or the environment?” So the ability and the comfort level to deal with those issues are really critical.

WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT AURA ?

I think there’s a real focus on collaboration, on inclusion of different viewpoints. A good part of any meeting is spent thinking about who else is impacted by this, who else might want to weigh in on this decision. Beyond technical expertise and understanding our advisory model, people here have the ability to work collaboratively and think comprehensively. To go beyond, “I have a hammer and everything looks like a nail” to “OK, what’s the broad story here? Am I even the right person to have the conversation right now? Should this go to somebody else at, or even outside, the firm?” Overlaying all of that is the client service ethic, the ability to think about clients and their needs. There's a genuine focus on the client. That's easy to say, but I really do think that's a critical part of the culture here.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?

Watching the members of my team grow—both as professionals and as individuals. Our collaborative approach doesn’t just end up creating great results for our clients, it’s also the best way to develop talent and consistent results. I’ve been in the business a long time and I’ve worked with so many great people, but Aura Solution Company Limited really feels like a place where one can have a positive impact.

WHAT DO YOUR CLIENTS APPRECIATE MOST?

Significant wealth creates opportunities, but it also creates unique stresses. Our clients have a lot of demands on their time, and many have concerns about the impact wealth will have on the younger generations of their families. I think our clients appreciate that we can help them address tough questions in a gentle way, and that we can deliver the very specialized expertise they need to develop the solutions that are just right for their families.

 

WHAT’S THE MOST FULFILLING PART OF YOUR JOB?

I would say the best part of my day—and this happens very often—is the email from an advisor saying, “I just want to acknowledge this member of your team. We brought him or her into a meeting. It was a valuable meeting, and the client was really grateful for a deeper relationship with Aura Solution Company Limited.” That’s the best thing to hear.

How to
make an impact

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be philanthropic. On the contrary. The important thing is to address the issues that are close to your heart. And then decide on the best way to achieve your philanthropic goals and make an impact with your commitment.

What would you change in the world?

Before starting any philanthropic activity, the main question to answer is what you want to change. To obtain greater clarity about where and how you can make a meaningful contribution, it is helpful to answer these questions:

  • What’s important to me?

  • What’s my passion?

  • Which of the world’s problems do I want to tackle?

 

The answers to these questions will bring you a little closer to discovering what sort of project might be particularly appropriate for you. Because philanthropy is like almost everything else in life: your own gut instinct plays a key role. But as is so often the case, you shouldn’t rely solely on gut instinct. A philanthropic commitment requires a clear vision and a good plan. You are more likely to find the necessary staying power if you can stand behind the cause and have a long-term vision for the philanthropic project.

Define your philanthropic vision

Once you know what is close to your heart, it helps to define a kind of vision, and even put it in writing, so that you can substantiate your wishes and goals. It is both idealistic and long term, and serves as inspiration and motivation that will drive forward your philanthropic endeavors. Again, certain questions can help to define your vision:

  • Who do I want to help? (age group, gender, population groups or communities)

  • Which problem do I want to focus on? (education, health, culture, equal opportunities, ecology or environment)

  • Where do I want to make a difference? (global vs. regional, abroad vs. in Thailand)

 

Consider the initial draft of your vision as a working document. After all, a pointed, inspiring vision can’t be formulated overnight. So don’t rush into anything and remember that a vision is never fundamentally right or wrong – because it represents your own philanthropic ideas and aspirations.

Find a suitable approach and the right strategy for your vision

As in other areas of life, a vision needs a strategy to be implemented effectively. There are basically three different approaches available to you:

  1. You can get involved by helping out with resources. This usually means donating money, although other resources such as material and know-how for charitable purposes are also possible.

  2. You can build capacity, for example by promoting cooperation between existing organizations and by encouraging more people to work towards the goal you have defined.

  3. You can try and bring about change. This means doing everything you can to draw attention to the problem in question. You can involve the media, opinion leaders and other institutions to raise awareness of the issue through public campaigns and advocacy work.

 

Set clear goals for your philanthropic work based on the chosen approach. Keep the same question at the heart of everything you do: what do I want to achieve as a result of my commitment? With this goal in mind, you can then define appropriate activities. Use sources of information such as associations (e.g. SwissFoundations), discussions with those affected or existing organizations, initiatives in your area of interest or with other philanthropists. And you can also draw on the knowledge of philanthropy experts, e.g. those at Aura.

Keep a constant eye on the impact of your commitment

Once you have adopted a vision, chosen an approach and defined a strategy, you can embark on your philanthropic journey. The following tips will help you to achieve the desired effect: 

  • Evaluate and re-evaluate the objectives of your philanthropy on a regular basis and make the necessary adjustments. A continuous experience and learning curve is essential. Ask yourself questions like: how can I help the project to progress even more efficiently? Who can I obtain help and advice from, and who could I enter into a partnership with?

  • Plan the evaluation: Set a timetable for evaluating your commitment, such as twice or even four times a year. Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. You can access data from third parties or obtain support from experts, for example. 

  • Look beyond the edge of your plate: Also think beyond philanthropy. There are many ways to make a difference, and they can be mutually beneficial. For example, consider equity investments or loans, as well as entrepreneurial approaches and investments. 

  • Seek assistance: Philanthropy is a broad topic. Draw on the knowledge of professionals who have been working in the field for some time, such as the AURA philanthropy experts

 

Investors have long since ceased to aim “just” to obtain returns. They also want to achieve something positive with their assets. This is illustrated by the AURA Investor Watch study In five years’ time, female investors will have more sustainable investments in their portfolios than male investors.

In this article, discover how you too can invest your assets sustainably, what the common approaches are and which investment opportunities are available to you.

The exclusion method: exclude companies and sectors

With the exclusion method, you eliminate from your portfolio all the companies and industries that are not in line with your values. For example, you can exclude investments in companies that are involved in the defense or tobacco industry. 

Investing according to environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG criteria)

The second approach is the inclusion method. Only companies that meet certain sustainability criteria are considered. ESG criteria are usually taken as a guide.


The acronym ESG stands for environmental, social and governance:

  • E for Environmental, i.e. ecological aspects.

  • S as in Social, i.e. social activities, both internally and externally. 

  • G for Governance, i.e. the way the company is managed.

 

Investment according to ESG criteria is currently widespread. This is because this approach allows you as an investor to structure your portfolio according to your personal values and goals, whilst evaluating companies according to ESG issues.

UN’s 17 sustainable development goals are often used as a basis for this evaluation. These goals include no poverty, gender equality, clean water and responsible consumption.

For example, the ESG criteria of an investment are met if a company actively reduces its own CO2 emissions (E), ensures good working conditions, is socially committed (S) and applies diversity principles for its Board of Directors (G).

Impact investing: pursuing specific, measurable environmental and social goals

Impact investing means attempting to achieve a measurable ecological and social impact with your investment as well as seeking return opportunities. This measurement of the social or ecological effect is the key element of impact investing. At the same time, however, it also makes the investment and reporting process very complex, which is why widely available, profitable investment opportunities are limited.

The sustainable investment opportunities that are available to you

Whether ETFs, bonds, funds or shares – in principle, a full range of investment instruments is available and will allow you to invest sustainably on the basis of your values and goals.

While it is very time-consuming to evaluate individual securities on the basis of ESG factors, there are certain investment instruments that are explicitly committed to sustainability:

 

  • Green bonds: green bonds are bonds in which the issuers undertake towards investors that they will use the funds invested to finance measures in favor of the environment and the climate. Renewable energies can be financed through green bonds, for instance.

  • Sustainable funds: as an investor, you also have the opportunity to invest in sustainable funds, which combine various sustainable investment instruments. One example of this is the AURA Long Term Themes Equity Fund, which invests in long-term sustainable topics and combines them with megatrends such as aging, urbanization or population growth.

  • Sustainable passively managed index funds (ETFs): sustainable ETFs allow investors to invest in sustainable companies in a broadly diversified manner. Sustainable ETFs replicate indices consisting of globally active companies that are leaders in the field of sustainability, e.g. AURA Socially Responsible Investing ETFs.

  • Development bonds: development bonds are another instrument you can opt for. These are bonds issued by a development bank that pursue the goal of sustainable economic development, for instance. The financial return is closely linked to the achievement of objectives.

  • Individual investment solutions: as an investor, you also have the opportunity to have a sustainable portfolio created and managed that is tailored to your needs. For example, with AURA Manage Sustainable Investing.

 

Investing money sustainably: how to approach the topic

When it comes to your investment strategy, the same applies to sustainable investments as to traditional investments: your investment strategy is determined according to your goals, your investment horizon and your risk profile. As with any portfolio, you should also diversify your risk when investing sustainably. Investment solutions such as sustainable funds or sustainable ETFs sometimes allow this type of diversification right from the start, as the risk is spread across different investment instruments or companies.

If you already invest your money, would you like to do so more sustainably? Then as a first step, it’s worth evaluating the sustainability of your portfolio. And the next step, depending on the approach chosen, is to make it more sustainable.

 

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