UBS's Wealth Business In Americas Enters Strategic Alliance With Fintech Firm

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 17 May 2016

UBS's Wealth Business In Americas Enters Strategic Alliance With Fintech Firm

UBS Wealth Management Americas has teamed up with a West Coast fintech firm to develop digital tools and services for advisors and clients, part of ongoing ferment in this field.

UBS Wealth Management Americas and SigFig, a Californian wealth technology firm, have formed a strategic alliance to develop financial technology for the Swiss bank's Americas arm, as well as UBS's financial advisors and clients.

SigFig will create and customise digital tools and services for UBS WMA's 7,000 advisors. The platform will improve the ability of UBS advisors to efficiently provide advice on assets held at UBS and other institutions, UBS said in a statement today.

As part of the arrangement, UBS has made an equity investment in SigFig, the financial size of which was not disclosed. Both organisations will create a joint advisor technology research and innovation lab, part of a trend of banks set up such facilities to stay ahead of fintech competition.

"This alliance will strengthen our advisors’ ability to provide outstanding client experiences and outcomes by combining our expertise in relationships and personalised advice with SigFig's skills in technology, data science, design and development," said Tom Naratil, president of UBS Americas.

Such a venture is part of a wider trend in fintech innovation activity. For example, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Aviva are just some of the finance companies involved in creating labs to ensure they are ahead of upstart fintech challengers. The labs are designed to spawn ideas in areas such as security, client reporting, apps, use of big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and other fields. Last week, the University of Oxford and Man AHL, part of UK-listed hedge fund business Man Group, enhanced the focus of the Oxford-Man Institute, which researches quantitative finance, on so-called machine learning. The institute becomes part of the University’s Department of Engineering Science from 1 August.

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