UBS Group AG is weighing acquisitions and joint-ventures for its asset management business to help it compete with larger rivals, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Targets may include U.K. and U.S. asset managers focused on retail clients and specialized asset managers in areas such as real estate, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
Senior executives at the Zurich-based bank think the $800-billion asset manager needs more scale to compete internationally, two of the people said. The bank is unlikely to make any single very large acquisition, the people said.
Building scale has become a key topic for asset managers across Europe amid sustained pressure from larger, more technologically-advanced U.S. rivals who can undercut its fees.
Recent consolidation in the industry included the combination of Standard Life Plc and Aberdeen Asset Management Plc. UBS has enough capital to consider deals again after shunning acquisitions, the people said.
UBS declined to comment.
Asset management unit head Ulrich Koerner has been overhauling the unit since 2014, disposing of assets and pushing into passive-strategy products, which now account for almost 40 percent of assets managed. That’s helped reverse outflows, although it has reduced margins. Pre-tax profit in the six months through June was lowest in two years and less than five percent of UBS’s total.