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UBS Wealth Americas Posts 54% Jump in Pretax Profits

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UBS wealth management business in the Americas saw its pretax profits soar 54% from a year ago to $386 million in the fourth quarter. The bank said these results were tied to growth in fee-based revenue from larger client assets and an increase in transaction-based income.

For the full year, profits improved 7% from 2019 to $1.4 billion.

Meanwhile, wealth advisors in the Americas added net client assets of $1.4 billion in Q4’20 — reversing outflows of $9.2 billion in Q3’20 and outflows of $9 billion in Q4’19.

Invested assets in UBS Americas’ wealth unit hit $1.6 trillion in the latest period, up from $1.4 trillion in both the year-ago and prior periods.

Advisor Headcount

The number of wealth advisors in the Americas declined by 244 from last year’s 6,549 and by 48 from last quarter’s 6,353 — totaling 6,305 as of Dec. 31, 2020.

Average fees and commissions (or production) per advisor in the Americas was $1.5 million, up from $1.4 million in both the earlier and year-ago quarter.

“Our strong 2020 results clearly demonstrate the true strength of our franchise and the commitment of our employees,” said UBS Group CEO Ralph Hamers said in a statement. The strong results were achieved despite it being a “challenging year for our clients, for our colleagues, and for our communities alike,” he said.

UBS “stood for stability, maintained connectivity, and provided the advice and solutions our clients needed,” and so “they entrusted us with their business — with over a hundred billion dollars in net new money,” he explained. “We met or exceeded every single one of our growth and returns targets.”

Rival Morgan Stanley Wealth Management reported last week that its 15,950 brokers attracted $66.1 billion in net new assets in the fourth quarter. And rival Bank of America’s Global Wealth division said its 19,373 combined Merrill and Private Bank brokers added a net $7.6 billion in fee-based flows in the period.