Do you want to make decisions for your $2 million dollar portfolio based on the automated notifications coming across your mobile device? That’s what UBS is hoping for, as they roll out digital advice to investors across the globe. Margot Patrick reports for The Wall Street Journal:
UBS Group AG UBS +0.29% doubled profit in its U.S. wealth business over the past five years by wooing rich families with white-glove service. For its next act, it is going after the not-as-rich with cheaper digital advice.
The Swiss bank bills itself as one of the world’s largest wealth managers, with access to more than half of all billionaires, and managing $3.2 trillion invested assets. It was on track at the end of the third quarter to make $2 billion in pretax profit in its Americas wealth unit for 2021.
Now, UBS is heading down the wealth curve to open up a bigger profit pool—people who have $250,000 to $2 million to invest but don’t want to trade their own portfolios or hire a financial adviser. The target audience is the roughly two million people who already have workplace stock and retirement programs managed by UBS but little other contact.
That strategy puts it in direct competition with mass-market rivals such as Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab Corp., as well as Morgan Stanley’s wealth management unit.
UBS wants to give these well-off customers digital advice through their devices. Advisers will be on hand by video to talk about big investments or planning for life events, gut checks UBS has found most investors still want. The secret sauce, UBS says, will be streams of investment ideas from its chief investment office, a global team of 200 market forecasters.
The new platform is a test case for UBS’s digital-savvy chief executive, Ralph Hamers. He joined in 2020 after three decades at ING Groep NV, a pioneer in scaling up through online-only banking.
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