August 2, 2011

UBS Hosts Client Forum With Clinton, Bush on Economy

The wealth-management group also says its advisors and clients are supporting small businesses in New York, as part of a pilot project.

Presidents George Bush (left) and Bill Clinton (center) speaking with Robert McCann, head of UBS in the Americas. Presidents George Bush (left) and Bill Clinton (center) speaking with Robert McCann, head of UBS in the Americas.

UBS Wealth Management Americas hosted a client event on Monday in Dallas with former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as part of its Revitalizing America Initiative, which aims to find non-partisan ways to improve the U.S. economy. Late last week, UBS and William J. Clinton Foundation announced the launch of a New York-based pilot project that is also part of this initiative and involves both financial advisors and their clients.

“Investors across the country have shared their concerns, and it is clear that their greatest worries revolve around the future of America as a continued economic force,” said Robert McCann, head of UBS in the Americas at the Dallas event, which had about 400 attendees. “Questions regarding the budget deficit, global competitiveness, the American workforce and the strength of the dollar inspired us to initiate an ongoing conversation with our clients about what it will take to revitalize America.”

As part of its Revitalizing America Initiative, UBS recently conducted a poll of more than 1,000 clients and prospects. It found that 67% of Texas respondents are “extremely worried about the size of the national debt,” and a near majority is also quite concerned about U.S. competiveness, according to UBS.

At the event, McCann described the debt dialogue in Washington as having thrown a "wet blanket" on CEOs trying to determine whether or not to expand, according to a story in Monday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"There's actually a lot going in this economy to feel good about," he said. "Corporate profits are quite strong. Corporate balance sheets are in better shape than they've been in years. There's the beginnings of some job creation."

UBS abill clintonnd Clinton first announced the formation of the CEO-UBS Small Business Advisory Program during the Clinton Global Initiative-America conference in June. It involves both UBS financial advisors and their clients.

“As small businesses across America strive to expand and grow jobs, I am proud of the fact that UBS advisors and our clients have volunteered to work with the entrepreneurs enrolled in this pilot program,” said McCann in a press release.

“By providing the knowledge and skills necessary to support these promising individuals as they pursue their goals, we hope to help revitalize the most critical engine of job creation in America – our small businesses,” McCann added.

In the program, 10 entrepreneurs that currently run “high-growth businesses with significant potential for job creation” in the greater-New York area -- including Harlem, Long Island City, Newark and Brooklyn -- will receive pro bono strategic financial and business advice, according to UBS.

Each participating entrepreneur has been matched with a UBS financial advisor and a  client who will provide tailored advice to enhance the knowledge and skills necessary to support the businesses’ expansion and long-term success, the wealth-management group says.

“Promoting the success of small businesses within underserved communities is a key component to ensuring a balanced economic recovery” said President Clinton in a statement. "I am pleased that my foundation is partnering with UBS Wealth Management Americas to provide small businesses in New York City with the essential resources, assistance and access they need to grow and contribute to job creation within their communities."

As of June 30, the number of FAs in the wealth-management unit in the Americas is 6,862 – up from 6,760 last year and 6,811 in the first quarter of 2011. Assets under management are 694 billion Swiss francs vs. 742 billion Swiss francs last year and 750 billion Swiss francs in the earlier period.

Invested assets under management for the group are 650 billion Swiss francs, or roughly $113 million per advisor. Gross production or fees and commissions per rep stood at $884,000 in the second quarter of 2011.

“Improvements in wealth-management Americas are quite visible and in line with our plans,” said UBS-Americas CFO Thomas C. Naratil, during a recent earnings presentation. “And … contrary to market rumors, this division is part of our global wealth-management business and is not for sale."

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