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UBS Accelerates Investment Flow Into Fintechs

Jackie Bennion, Deputy Editor, 29 October 2020

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The global wealth manager is partnering with an established venture capital group to speed up direct investing into fintechs and boost tech alliances more broadly.

With plans to invest $200 million in digital ventures, UBS has launched the UBS Next portfolio, partnering with global VC fund Anthemis to accelerate direct investment flow.

The Swiss manager indicated that several direct investments are in the pipeline and the portfolio will target investments across a “broad tech ecosystem”. The move chimes with the performance of technology during the pandemic both in equity markets and in private placement.

The group expects to mine existing partnerships as well as external alliances with tech companies, start-ups, regulators, peer banks, academia and industry thought leaders, it said. The venture will be funded exclusively by UBS and managed by a dedicated tech venture investment team.

"UBS Next is a further step to accelerate our innovation efforts as well as to identify and apply the latest technology for our client businesses,” head of group technology Mike Dargan, said. Collaborating with Anthemis will “widen our access to fintech start-ups," Dargan added.

London-based Anthemis has spent a decade investing in the fintech space and counts wealth management startup Betterment, challenger bank Atom, and trading app eToro among those it has made investments in. It has also backed FX company Currencycloud and money transfer service Azimo as other examples of its investment scope.

A couple of years ago, the VC group courted attention when its long-time CEO and founder Nadeem Shaikh resigned abruptly, citing a “shift" in company strategy. Shaikh has since founded Future Farm, a collaboration platform for entrepreneurs.

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