UBS UBS AG’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg)

UBS plans to invest $200 million in digital ventures, the wirehouse announced Tuesday while launching UBS Next, a new initiative it said was designed to “further engage with fintechs and the broader tech ecosystem.”

UBS Next will be funded exclusively by UBS and be managed by a dedicated tech venture investment team with “market-proven capital expertise,” it said. That team is part of the firm’s central Group Technology division and the $200 million investment is expected to be made on a medium-term basis.

The new initiative will manly pursue direct investments into early-stage fintechs and other relevant tech companies, according to the company.

Already, “several direct investments are in evaluation” by UBS, it said, but didn’t name any of the firms it set its sights on.

In addition to direct investments, UBS entered into a strategic collaboration with Anthemis, a global venture capital firm that has been identifying fintech firms for over a decade and “will help accelerate investment opportunity identification and deal flow for UBS,” UBS said.

UBS Next represents a “further step to accelerate our innovation efforts as well as to identify and apply the latest technology for our client businesses,” according to Mike Dargan, head of Group Technology. “With our investments through close collaboration with Anthemis, we widen our access to fintech start-ups,” he said in a statement.

Prior to this, UBS Next has typically collaborated with other firms as opposed to investing in them for tech solutions. Examples when it comes to the Group Technology division include its recent collaboration with GitLab and the annual Future of Finance competitions. The UBS Wealth Management business in the U.S., meanwhile, recently announced collaborations with FutureFuel.io, Broadridge, Refinitiv (on market data for advisors) and SigFig.

UBS is “driving both internal initiatives as well as existing strategic partnerships and external collaborations with technology companies, start-ups, regulators, peer banks, other market participants, academia and industry thought leaders,” it said Tuesday.

UBS Next is focused on enabling the firm’s key strategic priorities, it says, including:

  • Co-developing digital innovation and ecosystem via partnerships, research and innovation pipeline management, “facilitated by centers of excellence.”
  • Modernizing and modularizing technical estates, leveraging new technologies, including public cloud, microservices architecture and artificial intelligence.
  • Finding new and effective ways to engage with clients and deliver services, as well as evolving our business model to “drive growth across UBS with cutting-edge technologies and solutions.”