UBS Group AG said Monday that it is merging its financial advisors in the Americas with those outside the continent, creating a Global Wealth Management unit with about 10,600 FAs and close to $2.7 trillion in client assets worldwide.
The business will be launched on Feb. 1 and be led by Martin Blessing, president of Wealth Management, and Tom Naratil, president of UBS Americas and Wealth Management Americas.
“Two years ago, we began to more closely align the divisions, and today’s announcement reflects our continued evolution,” said UBS Group AG CEO Sergio P. Ermotti, in a statement. “It will mean improved efficiency, more sharing of best practices, greater returns on our investments and enhanced client service.”
The move has earned UBS a thumbs-up from wealth management consultant Chip Roame, head of Tiburon Strategic Advisors. “An integrated business is the future!” Roame told ThinkAdvisor.
UBS is “a strong player” beyond the U.S., Roame points out, and the number of its non-U.S. FAs surpasses other wirehouses (Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo).
The non-U.S. wealth managers have bigger average books of businesss and higher margins than their U.S. counterparts, he adds, and that means there is room for the Americas’ advisors to learn from their global best practices.
By the Numbers
The Wealth Managemeent Americas advisors had average yearly revenue (fees and commissions) of $ 1.23 million and $180 million in average client assets.
Morgan Stanley’s advisors had average yearly sales of $1.12 million as of Dec. 31 vs. $1 million for Merrill’s Thundering Herd; Merrill’s veteran advisors, though, produced $1.31 million. Morgan Stanley says the average level of assets per advisor is $151 million, while Merrill doesn’t provide that figure.