‘Robo-advisers’ to help wealthy US UBS clients

Technology automates investment management workflow to free up advisers’ time

Financial services firm UBS is the latest to turn to so-called robo-advisers to help its wealthy clients in the United States.

The firm’s US wealth-management division is to use new technology developed by San Francisco start-up SigFig Wealth Management. UBS is also taking an undisclosed stake in the start-up. The firms will form a research lab to collaborate on new wealth management tools as part of the venture, UBS said.

SigFig’s technology automates many of the investment portfolio management functions, giving advisers more time to discuss strategies with customers.

Tom Naratil, president of UBS Americas, said that unlike other brokerage firms, the Swiss bank would not be bringing the robo-adviser service directly to its wealthy customers


“We’ll give them some tools, but we’re not going down the self-serve route,” he said.

Wealth management

Wall Street banks and investment firms are increasingly building or buying robo- advisers to add business while cutting costs. UBS has shifted its business model in recent years to focus more on wealth management, which is typically more stable than businesses like trading.

The Americas wealth unit, which has around 7,000 financial advisors, had net inflows of $13.6 billion during the first quarter. UBS started exploring ways it could partner with financial technology companies under former UBS Americas wealth chief executive Bob McCann, Mr Naratil said.

McCann led a delegation including UBS chief Sergio Ermotti to Silicon Valley last year where the bankers met number of robo-adviser firms, including SigFig. – (Reuters)