UBS to launch robo-advice service in the UK

Swiss financial services group UBS will launch a new ‘robo-advice’ service for UK clients on 21 November, with plans to roll it out worldwide beginning with Europe and Asia in 2017, reports the Financial Times.

The service will see clients answer automated questions and recommend a portfolio of investments based on their responses. According to reports, UBS believes the launch will help broaden its service offerings beyond the most affluent individuals and include younger clients.

This policy will be reflected in a required minimum investment figure only £15,000 (US$18,610), against the £2m required to open a UBS private bank account. The FT reports that UBS will charge an ‘all in’ fee of 1% for the service, including investment advice, platform administration and the cost of holding underlying funds in a portfolio of passive tracker funds.

“Robo-advice represents the democratisation of wealth management,” said Dirk Klee, chief operating officer (COO) at UBS Wealth Management. He added that UBS did not plan to compete with other robo-advisers purely on price but instead offer a more sophisticated interactive service that would allow its clients to invest for the future.

The move to robo-advisers follows an announcement in March by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) that 550 employees were to be replaced by ‘robo-advisers’ within its investment advice and protection teams, which provide tips and advice on financial products. Other firms reported to have recently developed their own online investment services include BlackRock, Vanguard and Goldman Sachs.


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