UBS brings innovation to wealth management

UBS brings innovation to wealth management Like other banks across the globe, UBS is facing technology disruptions from fintech startups and technology companies. Digitization is a key strategic priority of the bank’s wealth management business division to adapt to technological trends and clients’ changing needs.

The bank has established wealth management innovation labs in its key markets since 2014 to identify and test new products and services. To date, innovation labs have been set up in Zurich, London and Singapore. The projects in the bank’s innovation portfolio span across different areas such as client experience, language processing, data analytics, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

New technologies have been implemented in some of the banks’s wealth management services. Personalized investment advice service UBS Advice uses a portfolio-monitoring system powered by AI to analyze individual client portfolios. This helps identify portfolio quality issues such as critical risk factors and propose customized and timely advice to each client.

Hong Kong digital hub

In Hong Kong, UBS recently set up a digital hub, which will be officially launched next month.

Unlike other UBS innovation labs that operate as an R&D facility, the digital hub is a place for open and interactive engagement with clients. They could provide feedback on testable prototypes, and discuss with personal advisors about investment strategies.

“The majority of our clients are entrepreneurs who are disrupted by technologies regardless of their industries,” said Ketan Samani, chief digital officer at UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific. “Apart from getting investment advice from us, they also want to know how to enhance and expand their businesses in the era of disruptive technologies.”

The digital hub enables a broader conversation between clients and their advisors about clients’ business challenges and the application of technological innovation in their business models.

“Our clients can do usability testing on our digital solutions, provide their constructive feedback and preferences for adopting them,” he said. “The digital hub enhances a more innovative thought process between clients and our management.”

Roundtable discussions or workshops are arranged in the digital hub for clients to learn or share key fintech trends and knowledge, as well as to network with peers.

Collaboration with startups

UBS turns to technology companies and startups to look for innovative and disruptive ideas to bolster its wealth management services.

“We can’t do everything ourselves. If there are startup platforms and forums, we need to reach out and collaborate with them,” he said.

Last month, UBS announced a collaboration with Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform (Hong Kong X) to find new innovations, uncover real world business opportunities and promote the city as a center of innovation. 

They aim to provide a platform for engagement, networking and knowledge sharing among the business community and the tech startup ecosystem, as well as support the development of startups in Hong Kong.