UBS says that Wealth Management Americas – which now includes some 8,760 advisors and $625 billion in assets under management — will consolidate its eight U.S. regions into three (Northeast, Central and West) and combine its existing market areas, stand-alone branches and private wealth offices to form 20 new market areas by July 1.
The northeast region will be based in New York, the central region in Miami and the west in Los Angeles. This simplified structure will allow the wealth-management advisor group to improve the support it provides to both clients and advisors and increase decision-making ability at the local level for the benefit of clients, according to the company
In the quarter ended March 31, 2009, Wealth Management Americas had a pre-tax loss of 35 million Swiss francs – roughly $31 million – vs. a gain of 180 million Swiss francs or $160 million a year ago.
The company says the loss was due to lower fees related to lower-average invested asset levels, a decrease in interest income and an increase in expenses primarily due to higher personnel costs in the first quarter.
Though personnel expenses decreased 5 percent as measured in Swiss francs due to lower revenue-based financial advisor compensation, severance, and salaries, this shift was partly offset by higher financial advisor-related recruitment costs. The number of personnel in the Americas unit was 19,962 on 31 March 2009, a decrease of 110 from December 31, 2008.
Financial advisors in the Americas increased by 153 to 8,760, reflecting the second consecutive quarter of net increases due to strong recruiting and retention efforts, particularly among high-producing financial advisors, the company notes. In the first quarter of 2008, the unit had 8,691 advisors. Non-financial advisor employees decreased by 263 in the most recent quarter to 11,202 due to staff reductions.