Advisor head count in UBS’ Global Wealth Management Americas division remained steady year over year, though total revenue fell, despite a boost from higher net interest income, according to the bank’s Q4 2022 earnings.
CEO Ralph Hamers stressed that UBS’ global performance during 2022 came in the midst of “a challenging macroeconomic environment, persistent inflation, rapid central bank tightening, the Russia-Ukraine war, the impact of COVID in China and other geopolitical tensions.”
In total, advisors (or full-time equivalents) in UBS GWM Americas (which includes the United States, Canada and Latin America) stood at 6,245, with the firm’s global count at 9,215. In Q4 2021, these numbers stood at 6,218 and 9,329, respectively.
Total revenue for the Americas Wealth Management division fell 5% year over year by $126 million to $2.64 billion, driven by lower recurring net fees and transaction-based income, according to the earnings report. Net interest income increased 37% year over year in the fourth quarter, according to UBS.
In Q4, Global Wealth Americas generated net new fee-generating assets totaling about $4.2 billion, compared with $21.9 billion in Q4 2021. UBS defined new fee-generating assets as its sum of discretionary and nondiscretionary wealth management portfolios, as well as assets where revenues are “predominantly of a recurring nature.”
GWM Americas also saw movement in alternative investments, with $10 billion in net new commitments to private markets during the course of the year, according to the Q4 earnings. However, invested assets dropped from $1.84 to $1.58 billion between Q4 2022 and the prior year’s fourth quarter, according to the earnings report. The American wealth management arm’s pretax profits stood at $375 million in Q4 2022, a year-over-year drop from $471 million, a $96 million decrease.
Despite the global economic outlook, Hamers said he was optimistic about the coming year, touting the firm’s operational resilience, capital strength and generation in a statement accompanying the earnings.
“We are starting 2023 from a position of strength,” he said. “We remain committed to a progressive dividend and expect to repurchase more than ($5 billion) of shares in 2023."