UBS Wealth Management Review For 2024 (2024)

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Finding the right fit for your wealth management needs can be a daunting task. Investors interested in both advisory and asset management services might want to take a look at UBS Wealth Management, one of the largest investment management firms in the world.

However, interested investors should keep in mind that not all wealth management services are the same. With its gargantuan size and emphasis on in-person meetings, UBS charges more than some other asset management services, and it is not the typical no-commissions online broker to which many self-directed investors have grown accustomed.

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What Is UBS Wealth Management?

UBS Wealth Management is a division of the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), one of the largest financial institutions in the world. UBS offers various services globally, including personal & corporate banking, investment banking and asset management.

Through UBS Wealth Management, the company provides investment advice, financial planning and brokerage trading services to its U.S. clients.

How Does It Compare?

UBS Wealth Management takes an old school approach to investing, focused on in-person support from a human professional. You cannot join UBS without scheduling an initial meeting with a UBS advisor first. Your UBS advisor is also actively involved in recommending investments for your portfolio. In some UBS programs, the advisor can make trades on your behalf.

You get much more support using UBS Wealth Management than on a DIY investment platform like Fidelity or Robinhood. While UBS Wealth Management does offer brokerage services where you can trade on your own, its main focus is on giving investment advice. It doesn’t provide the same technology and trading tools as popular online brokerage platforms.

UBS Wealth Management is more like working with a high-end Registered Investment Advisor, or RIA, than an online broker. What’s nice about UBS Wealth Management is you can join some programs with a portfolio of just $5,000. Other investment advisors could require a six-figure commitment or higher. However, you wouldn’t get as much access to senior management at UBS versus a boutique firm.

All of that personal attention comes at a premium. UBS Wealth Management’s fees can run up to 2.5% per year of your portfolio, depending on the program and your portfolio size. The industry average is around 1% per year.

How To Use UBS Wealth Management?

Advisory Services

To get started with UBS Wealth Management, you first schedule a meeting with one of its advisors. You can schedule this meeting online or by phone. UBS has few branches in the U.S. outside of major metropolitan areas, but if you’re close enough to one, you can still meet in person.

The financial advisor will ask questions to understand your current financial situation, needs, goals and risk tolerance. The advisor will then come back with an investment and program recommendation. There are different ways to enroll with UBS, depending on what role you want for the advisor and the possible investments for your portfolio:

  • Discretionary programs. The UBS advisor can make trades on your behalf in discretionary programs. The advisor designs your portfolio and can use a broader range of possible investments and strategies.
  • Non-Discretionary programs. The advisor cannot trade on your behalf and only gives you recommendations in non-discretionary programs. You decide whether to follow the recommendations.
  • Separately managed accounts programs. UBS partners with an external investment/money manager to design the portfolio. They allow you to combine the expertise of another investment manager with your advisor from UBS Wealth Management.

The minimum account size depends on the program. Most require between $5,000 to $25,000 to get started. More complex programs require larger balances. For example, PACE Multi only requires $5,000 but limits your portfolio to mutual funds. UBS Strategic Advisor requires $25,000 but allows a broader range of investments, including equities, fixed-income securities, options and alternative investments.

Brokerage Services

While opening your account, you could also open a UBS brokerage account to trade on your own. That way, you could build your portfolio by buying and selling investments. There is no minimum needed to open a UBS brokerage account. The UBS Wealth Management brokerage platform offers a wide variety of investments, including:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Exchange-traded funds
  • Annuities
  • Options
  • Structured notes
  • Alternative investments

If you use the brokerage platform, UBS will not supervise your portfolio or give investment recommendations unless you are also part of one of its advisory programs.

Costs

Investment Advisory Services

You and your advisor will negotiate a fee when you enroll in a UBS Wealth Management program. UBS Wealth Management uses a wrap fee where one annual fee covers advice, investment trading commissions from UBS and the account administrative costs.

UBS Wealth Management charges an annual asset under management fee based on your portfolio size, the advisory program and the complexity of your investment strategy. The maximum fee is 2.5% per year for most programs. What you will pay depends on what you negotiate with your advisor.

If you work with an additional advisor outside of UBS Wealth Management for a separately managed accounts fee, they will also charge an annual fee. You’ll negotiate a combined yearly fee with UBS and the outside advisor.

If you and your advisor choose to use investments outside of UBS that require additional investment fees, they will not be covered by the wrap fee. You’ll need to pay those on top of the annual UBS fee.

Brokerage Services

If you trade on your own with UBS Wealth Management, you will owe commissions. The commission depends on the asset and size of the trade. UBS Wealth Management does not offer zero-commission trades like the top online brokerage platforms. You will also owe annual expense ratios for any mutual funds or ETFs you buy with UBS Wealth Management.

UBS Wealth Management does not require a minimum balance to open a brokerage account. However, if your account falls below a minimum amount determined by UBS, you could owe a $95 annual maintenance fee.

Financial Planning

You can buy a standalone financial plan from a UBS Wealth Management Advisor, which you then manage on your own. UBS Wealth Management estimates it costs between $1,000 to $10,000 for most clients to get a financial plan. The cost depends on your net worth and the complexity of your financial situation.

Other UBS Wealth Management Features

  • Financial planning. The financial planners at UBS Wealth Management offer general wealth planning as well as education planning, estate planning, insurance planning and retirement planning.
  • Banking and mortgage planning. You can access banking services through UBS Bank USA. This includes deposit accounts, credit cards and mortgages. You can then manage all parts of your finances in one account.
  • Investment research. UBS Wealth Management has a massive team of global investment research experts. They publish investment and market research online through articles, videos and podcasts.
  • Private wealth management. For the ultra-wealthy, UBS Wealth Management provides family office solutions and advanced planning, like for major philanthropic goals.
  • Workplace solutions. UBS Wealth Management offers workplace retirement plans and financial wellness programs to teach employees about money.

Is UBS Wealth Management Right for You?

If you’re looking for an advisor to help manage your investments and have a smaller portfolio, UBS Wealth Management could be a solid option.

You only need $5,000 to qualify for several of its programs. From there, you’ll work with a personal advisor, including the option for in-person meetings. You and your advisor will have access to the investments, research, and banking services of one of the largest financial institutions in the world.

Be warned that UBS Wealth Management can be on the expensive side of investment advice, especially on smaller accounts. Its maximum annual fee can go up to 2.5%, whereas the average investment advisor charges closer to 1%. Pay attention to what you would owe during the onboarding negotiations and compare it to your other possible options.

UBS Wealth Management is likely not a good fit if you are a DIY investor. While UBS Wealth Management offers brokerage services, you can’t open an account online or through an app. You must meet with an advisor first. UBS Wealth Management also charges commissions on all trades, which is becoming increasingly rare in the zero-commission online broker era. UBS Wealth Management is best for those looking for a traditional advisor experience.

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I'm an experienced financial consultant with extensive knowledge of wealth management practices and investment strategies. I've spent years delving into various aspects of financial planning, asset allocation, and portfolio management, gaining insights through both theoretical understanding and practical application.

In the realm of wealth management, understanding the nuances of different advisory services and investment platforms is crucial. Let's break down the concepts mentioned in the article:

  1. UBS Wealth Management: UBS Wealth Management is a division of the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), offering a range of financial services including investment advice, financial planning, and brokerage trading services to clients worldwide.

  2. Advisory Services vs. Brokerage Services: UBS Wealth Management offers both advisory services, where clients work closely with advisors to make investment decisions, and brokerage services, which allow clients to trade on their own. Advisory services involve in-depth consultations with advisors who design and manage portfolios based on clients' financial goals and risk tolerance. Brokerage services enable clients to trade securities independently using the UBS brokerage platform.

  3. Fee Structures: UBS Wealth Management charges fees based on the type of service and the size of the portfolio. Advisory services typically incur an annual asset under management fee, negotiated between the client and advisor. Brokerage services involve commissions on trades and may also have additional fees for maintaining smaller account balances.

  4. Investment Programs: UBS offers various investment programs with different minimum account sizes and investment options. These programs include discretionary programs where advisors make trades on behalf of clients, non-discretionary programs where clients decide on investment recommendations, and separately managed accounts programs which involve collaboration with external investment managers.

  5. Additional Services: Apart from investment management, UBS Wealth Management provides financial planning services, banking and mortgage planning, investment research, private wealth management for high-net-worth individuals, and workplace solutions including retirement plans and financial wellness programs.

  6. Cost Considerations: While UBS Wealth Management offers extensive services and resources, it's important for clients to consider the costs involved, including management fees, commissions, and potential additional expenses associated with specific investment choices. Comparing these costs with the level of service and benefits provided is essential for making informed decisions.

In conclusion, navigating the landscape of wealth management requires a thorough understanding of the services offered, fee structures, investment options, and the alignment of these factors with individual financial goals and preferences. UBS Wealth Management, with its comprehensive suite of services, may be suitable for investors seeking personalized advice and access to a wide range of investment opportunities, albeit at potentially higher costs compared to alternative options.

UBS Wealth Management Review For 2024 (2024)

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