UBS: The world’s largest wealth manager explains its UK offering

UBS, Wealth Management

Nick Tucker, Head of UK Domestic at UBS Wealth Management, explains why his firm is pivoting towards financial planning and placing ever greater emphasis on what clients ultimately want their money to be for.

What, in brief, is UBS’s history and how does it stand now in terms of its UK presence and client base?

Nick: We have been advising wealthy individuals and families around the world for more than 150 years, and established a UK presence in 1999. As the world’s largest wealth manager, we now manage $2.1 trillion globally and have over 850 people working across a network of seven regions.

In terms of our client base, we have established long-standing relationships with a mix of wealthy families, entrepreneurs, executives and charities throughout the UK.

Who is the typical client of UBS in the UK? What is their stage of life and what are they trying to achieve with their wealth?

Nick: Our clients are largely high net worth families and individuals, often entrepreneurs who need solutions to support complex and changing personal and business circumstances. Typically, their overarching objective is for us to make their wealth work now and in the future.

But through research we carried out recently, we have found that their priorities are changing.

There is an increasing focus on what their wealth is for and how it can be used to make a material impact. A greater emphasis is being given to succession planning, educating the next generation, sustainable investing and philanthropy than ever before.

How would you describe UBS’s investment ethos and risk management approach? Does the firm have expertise in any particular areas of investment?

Nick: Driven by the unpredictability of today’s investment environment and underpinned by client feedback, our investment model adds value at every stage.

Our global Chief Investment Office, the bedrock of our investment process and performance, is at the forefront of the industry. Our client advisers are able to combine research from over 200 analysts around the world, covering all markets and asset classes, with a deep understanding of clients’ long-term goals, financial objectives and risk tolerance to create the optimum investment and asset allocation strategy for them.

Recently, we have been dedicating resources to building a Socially Responsible Investing approach for clients who are concerned about the ethical, sustainable nature of their investments in addition to financial return.

How does UBS go about devising investment strategies and building portfolios which suit each individual client’s risk-profile and financial goals?

Nick: We have committed a great amount of time and planning to understand clients’ financial lifecycle and their behavioural finance triggers. 

We are constantly challenging clients’ perceptions of their total wealth, their lifelong financial requirements and their short, medium and long-term goals.

All our client advisers receive formal goals-based wealth management training, which enhances their ability to get to the heart of client motivations. Our HNW clients have a dedicated team of two lead client advisers who work in close consultation with them and their other advisers to provide a comprehensive and bespoke solution.

After working with the clients to understand their needs and aspirations, our advisers draw on UBS’s global resources and expertise to advise them on how to manage their wealth.

How would you describe UBS’s approach to servicing clients? Do you encourage one-on-one relationships or do you take more of a team approach? How do you communicate with clients?

Nick: First and foremost, we are a client-centric organisation. We are committed to obtaining and responding to client feedback. To this end, we have introduced an ongoing Client Council, which connects clients and senior executives to source their views on our business. This thorough and regular consultation with clients has enabled us to finetune our service, resulting in a substantial increase in client satisfaction levels.

Alongside two dedicated client advisers, we make sure that clients have direct access to contacts within teams across UBS, including our wealth and financial planning, investment and product solutions teams. All investments are monitored and reviewed regularly during face-to-face meetings with the client, client advisers, UBS specialists and external providers.

How does UBS help clients engage more effectively with the management of their wealth? Do you help clients with investment education and research, for example?

Nick: Our Chief Investment Office, established in 2011, is one of our key differentiators and certainly helps to inform clients’ investment education. The regular research notes and insight from the CIO team provided to clients on a weekly basis allow them to allow better understand the bigger picture and how their investments fit into it.

Educating the next generation about wealth is a key concern for clients and UBS. Every summer we hold a Next Generation Education programme for children of HNW clients.

Many of our clients are looking for financial planning as well as investment advice. How do you help in this area?

Nick: Over the past three years, we have placed financial planning at the heart of our offer to clients. Across the industry, client advisers are often expected to provide a financial planning service to their clients. At UBS, we firmly believe financial planning is highly complicated and requires highly-trained and experienced individuals to devise solutions to a range of client challenges.

As part of our pivot towards financial planning, we ensure client advisers may call upon the expertise of our 20-strong specialist financial planning team. We also have a dedicated wealth planning advisory team, one of the largest of its kind, which works closely with clients and their tax advisers to evaluate and implement a client’s wealth structuring and investment portfolio within the complex UK tax and legal landscape.

Finally, what else is distinctive about UBS?

Nick: We take pride in the fact that we are a pure wealth manager, with a large, experienced team at the disposal of our clients. Clients benefit from a close relationship with their local client adviser, backed up by the expertise and firepower of an international wealth manager.

Our team-based approach continues to be a real differentiator from our peers. It extends to client’s other advisers, as we often assume the lead role to drive the provision of rounded solutions to their wealth challenges. Working with a network of expert lawyers and accountants, we aim to ensure that a client’s entire advisory team is the best possible fit for them.

If you would like to start a conversation with UBS please get in touch with the findaWEALTHMANAGER.com team HERE.

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