So what's next for UBS?
I think we will either sell(merger) to JP Morgan or we will continue to downsize into a boutique firm with half the advisors we have now. They want UHNW individuals as the primary focus.We have UHNW only offices in place. I think the company feels like that is where the profit margins are the highest.
In Europe and Asia, UBS is a UHNW Private Bank. Swiss management has signaled that they want US operations to be more similar to Europe and Asia. Expect more downsizing of UBS WM US. The Bank side will skim off the top tier of FAs. It is significant that one of the only areas of UBS US this is now growing and will continue to grow is the UHNW Bank. What started out as a few offices throughout the nation, is now more than a dozen offices, with plans for up to 2 dozen offices within a few years. Admission fee for clients is $10mm+
UBS may or may not retain WM US for clients bet $1mm-10mm in assets. Whether it is sold intact or broken up remains to be seen. Who knows, if the stock market recovers, we may even see a spin off of UBS WM US.
Before the latest round of cuts, the rumor heard in several different places was to cut NFA, close the training program, cut FA under 300k and 5y+ LOS, sell lower mid tier of branches to RBC Wealth Management, sell upper mid tier of branches to JP Morgan, retain top tier/UHNW as UBS Bank. Breaking up the company in that way would make most of Weehawken uneccessary. In any event, by cleaving off the bottom of the firm, and then encourageing remaining weak FAs to move, what will be left should be more attractive to a potential buyer or to equity investors in the event of a spin off.
I would expect more changes over the next 6-12mos.
UBS in Switzerland and elsewhere is glad to have million-dollar clients. They aren’t exclusively UHNW anywhere that I know of (and Asia is the only place i don’t know of). If you’ve got a $million to invest, you show up and give the money and the discression. It’s managed accounts only, no A shares, conversations about stocks and FGAs. I will bet you that to bulk of the UHNW money is in cash (totally speculation)
I tend to agreee with exUBS. They are opening more and more of the Ultra HNW offices THROUGHOUT the country. Originally the plan was just in the major cities, but now they are opening them in mid-size cities. In some cases they are forcing the top tier FA’s (Private Wealth Managers) to these branches. My thoughts are that UBS plans on keeping those offices as UBS Bank and sell the rest (including weehawken) to JPM or ?.