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UBS Wealth Management Alters Fee Schedule and Waivers

Changes haven’t been made since 2009.

UBS Wealth Management Americas plans to make changes to its account fee schedule and waivers in 2018, according to a company director familiar with the decision.

The current fee schedule and waivers have been in place since 2009, but the brokerage said changes will be made next year to help advisors bring in net new money and increase their wallet share with clients. Changes to fees by other wealth management firms in recent years were also taken into consideration.

In 2018, UBS will charge clients $175 per year, up from $150, for each billable Resource Management Account, which can be used for day-to-day transactions, investments and savings. It will also begin charging a $100 fee for each billable individual retirement account, up from $75. The fee for international RMAs will increase from $175 to $200.

UBS plans to formally announce the new fees early next year, but the changes won’t go into effect until December of 2018, to give advisors roughly a full year to work with clients and help them take advantage of waiver opportunities.

Since 2009, UBS has waived account fees for clients that had at least $1 million in assets or liabilities. Beginning in 2018, that threshold will increase to $2 million, but the assets and liabilities don’t need to be with UBS. Clients that participate in UBS Wealth Management’s My Total Picture—an asset aggregation system that tracks verifiable information across financial institutions—can still qualify for the $2 million waiver if they have assets elsewhere, the person familiar with the platform said.

For example, a UBS client might only have $500,000 in an RMA, but if they have assets or liabilities tracked by My Total Picture at another brokerage firm totaling more than $1.5 million, they would meet the aggregate $2 million fee waiver requirement.

There are also a number of other ways a client can qualify for a fee waiver on an account.

Clients that deposit at least $250,000 in net new money (excluding employee assets) into an account don’t have to pay an annual fee that year.

UBS limits the amount customers pay in annual fees to $500, and some clients might easily hit that mark through other means. It’s not technically a waiver, but clients who carry the UBS Visa Infinite credit card pay a steep $495 annual fee that counts toward the limit, so they essentially don’t have to worry about any fees incurred from their accounts.

The UBS Visa Signature credit card has no annual fee, but if cardholders purchase points for the card to redeem perks, that expense also would count toward the $500 limit, the person familiar with the fee schedule and waivers said.

The $500 cap on account fees has been in place since 2009.

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