UBS Launches Robo-Advisor among Limited Fanfare

by on Apr 23, 2018

On April 5, UBS Wealth Management became the most recent incumbent brokerage to join the automated investing foray. This increases the number of firms that offer automated investing platforms in Corporate Insight’s e-Monitor coverage group to 11 (70%), with full-service firms like Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Advisors and Merrill Lynch (through Merrill Edge) launching platforms in 2017. The firm failed to promote this platform in a new or exciting way, which is a missed opportunity because the robo-advisor space is crowded and competitive. A press release and sitelet were added to the public site, detailing the offering and highlighting the Wealth Advice Center with an explanatory video, respectively. These additions, however, could be easily overlooked or missed by new and existing clients. The launch lacked promotional banner images and bright, eye-catching sections, which could benefit the public and private sites.

Wealth Advice Center Sitelet – UBS Advice Advantage Section

The platform—dubbed UBS Advice Advantage—was created in partnership with SigFig and is available to U.S. Wealth Advice Center clients. The minimum investment amount is on the higher side of traditional automated platforms at $10,000, as is the 75-basis point advisory fee (Morgan Stanley only charges 35 basis points, while Wells Fargo charges 50). After enrolling, each client gains access to a financial advisor, a valuable addition that is unavailable in other robo-advice offerings. The platform stands out for offering goal-tracking features and portfolio diagnostics. Clients can also analyze accounts they hold at other financial institutions; thus, the platform doubles as an account aggregation service. Other features include risk assessment, regular monitoring and rebalancing, tax loss harvesting and ongoing professional portfolio management. While prospective UBS clients must visit a branch to open an account, existing clients can enroll in the service online.