headshot of CEO Sergio Ermotti of UBS Sergio Ermotti, CEO of UBS, steps down next month. (Photo: Bloomberg)

UBS Group AG reported a mix of good and bad news in its latest quarterly results, its last under the leadership of CEO Sergio Ermotti, who steps down next month.

For the third quarter of 2020, its Global Wealth Management had pretax profits of $1.06 billion, up 18% from last year and ahead of analysts’ estimates of $912 million.

In the Americas, this figure improved 12% from a year ago to $371 million. 

But net new assets worldwide were just $1.4 billion in Q3’20, down 91% from $15.7 billion a year ago and 85% from $9.2 billion in the prior quarter. Still, the latest asset inflows beat net outflows of $262 million forecast by analysts, according to Bloomberg.

In the Americas, the wealth operations had outflows of $9.2 billion vs. no inflows (or outflows) a year ago and inflows of $100 million in the prior quarter of 2020. 

These results stemmed in part from the extended tax return deadline of July 15 in the U.S., which affected some $5.5 billion of tax-related outflows, Bloomberg reported. 

In the same period, rival Morgan Stanley reported fee-based flows of $23.8 billion in its wealth operations, while BofA’s wealth unit had $1.4 billion of overall net flows.

Net new client loans at the UBS wealth business were $10.5 billion worldwide and $5.2 billion in the Americas in the latest quarter.

Total client assets worldwide were $3.1 trillion as of Sept. 30. Of this figure, $2.8 trillion are invested assets  of which $1.4 trillion are tied to accounts in the Americas. Client loans worldwide were $201 billion. 

Advisor Headcount

Globally, the advisor headcount at UBS stood at 9,688 in Q3’20, down 989 advisors from 10,677 a year ago and 202 from 9,786 in the prior quarter.

In the Americas, UBS had 6,353 advisors as of Sept. 30, a drop of 274 from 6,627 in Q3’19 and a decline of 57 from 6,410 in Q2’20.

For instance, this quarter UBS lost a $1.6 billion team with four advisors to Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, the rival bank’s independent channel.

In contrast, Morgan Stanley had 15,469 advisors as of Q3’20, up 70 from June 30, but down by 84 from a year ago. The registered reps work with a total of $2.85 trillion in client assets.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch reported 17,760 advisors, down by 128 from the prior quarter but up 103 from last year; these figures include some advisors working on Merrill Edge and other BofA operations. The overall wealth unit, which includes BofA Private Bank, has $3.07 trillion of client assets.