UBS is a massive financial institution with offices in over 50 countries across five continents. UBS Wealth Management USA, also known as UBS Financial Services, is a subsidiary in the United States that offers services including portfolio management and financial planning for individual and high net worth clients, and retirement plan consulting for businesses. It has branches and advisors throughout most of the U.S.
The bottom line: UBS Wealth Management is part of the global banking firm UBS, and offers portfolio management and financial planning to individual and institutional clients across the U.S.
|Assets under management (AUM): $572,470,625,699|
|Minimum investment: Varies by program, starting at $5,000|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 101:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, hourly charges, fixed fees, commissions, other (miscellaneous fees)|
|Headquarters: 1200 Harbor Boulevard
Weehawken, NJ 07086
Website: UBS Wealth Management website
All information included in this profile is accurate as of September 14, 2021. For more information, please consult UBS Wealth Management’s website.
We will use this information to find the right advisor near you
UBS launched more than 150 years ago, when it first operated out of Switzerland as the Bank in Winterthur, which was founded in 1862. From there, it expanded into a global investment bank and wealth management firm with divisions in 50 countries around the world. The firm’s global headquarters is in Zurich, and its wealth management headquarters in the United States is based in Weehawken, New Jersey.
UBS is a publicly traded company on the NYSE. Its subsidiary, UBS Wealth Management USA, has approximately 15,000 employees, of which close to 10,000 perform investment advisory functions. UBS offers many services on top of wealth management, including retail banking and business consulting.
The majority of investors who work with UBS are high net worth individuals, defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 under an advisor’s management or a net worth believed to be at least $1.5 million. UBS notes on its website that it has extensive experience in handling the needs of high net worth and ultrahigh net worth individuals. However, having a high net worth is not a requirement to work with the firm, and it does also serve hundreds of thousands of non-high net worth investors.
The minimum investment amount needed to work with UBS depends on the program. UBS Wealth Management accepts some clients with as little as $5,000, but other programs can have investment minimums ranging up to $5 million. Here is the full list of minimum account size requirements for the firm’s different programs:
Discretionary advisory programs:
Separately managed account programs and unified managed account programs:
Non-discretionary advisory programs:
Portfolio-based advisory program:
UBS Consolidated Advisory Program (UBS-CAP): $5 million relationship size
For portfolio management, UBS offers both discretionary advisory programs, where the advisor can make trades on the client’s behalf, as well as non-discretionary advisory programs, where the client must approve all trades. The firm also offers separately managed accounts, where advisors who don’t work for UBS Wealth Management can access and manage a client’s portfolio on a discretionary basis. Within these categories, UBS Wealth Management has different programs with different goals and account minimum requirements.
In addition to portfolio management, UBS Wealth Management also offers a range of financial planning services to help clients with tasks such as getting ready for retirement and saving up for a college education. Additionally, the firm offers retail banking and brokerage services, as well as retirement plan consulting for businesses.
Here is a full list of services that UBS Wealth Management can provide its clients:
As such a large organization with so many different advisors and programs, UBS doesn’t follow just one type of investment approach or philosophy. There are several different portfolio management programs from which clients can choose based on factors including their risk profile and the amount of assets they have to invest. Specifically, the firm offers the following categories of programs:
Strategies used by the firm in client portfolios may include proprietary models or research blends, long- and short-term investments and option writing. In some cases, strategies may include short sales and other so-called hedging techniques.
The types of investments used in client accounts depend on which program the client selects. For instance, the Strategic Wealth Portfolio is a unified managed account that may use separately managed accounts, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), whereas the PACE Select and Multi programs only use mutual funds.
For portfolio management and investment advisory services, the firm generally charges clients a wrap fee based on a percentage of assets under management. This fee covers the cost of investment advice, the handling of investments through UBS and account reporting.
Your rate will depend on which program, advisor and investment strategy you select. You will negotiate the rate at the start of your contract. Additionally, some programs offer the option to work under a fixed fee basis, or to pay a rate that varies based on asset levels.
In general, however, the firm institutes the following maximum asset-based fees for its programs:
|UBS Wealth Management Fee Schedule for Discretionary Advisory Programs|
|Program||Maximum annual fee|
|Advisor Allocation Program||2.50%|
|UBS Advice Portfolio Program||1.25%|
|Portfolio Management Program (PMP)||2.50%|
|UBS Wealth Management Fee Schedule for Separately Managed Account and Unified Managed Account Programs|
|Program||Maximum annual fee|
|Managed Accounts Consulting (MAC)||2.50%|
|Strategic Wealth Portfolio (SWP)||2.50%|
|UBS Wealth Management Fee Schedule for Non-Discretionary Advisory Programs|
|Programs||Maximum annual fee|
|UBS Strategic Advisor||2.50%|
|UBS Wealth Management Fee Schedule for Portfolio-Based Advisory Program|
|Programs||Maximum annual fee|
|UBS Consolidated Advisory Program (UBS-CAP)||2.50%|
On top of the asset-based fee listed in the tables above, some programs charge an additional manager fee paid to your investment advisor. Advisors can also earn commissions from completing trades as a broker-dealer or for referring you to third-parties for investment products. Finally, if your advisor recommends investments that are not covered by the wrap fee, such as trades with another broker-dealer, you would need to cover these investment costs.
If you hire UBS to put together a financial plan, you will typically pay a fixed fee. It can cost between $500 to $50,000 to develop your financial plan, though the firm’s brochure states that most clients pay between $1,000 to $10,000. Your exact rate will depend on a number of factors, including the range and complexity of services offered, the nature and amount of assets involved and the advisor’s business model. In addition, you’d need to cover the fees that come with launching your plan, such as for account transfers, investments and trusts.
UBS Wealth Management discloses a number of disciplinary events from within the last decade. When an RIA registers with the SEC, it is required to disclose disciplinary actions taken against the firm and its investment advisors and affiliates on its Form ADV, paperwork that registered firms must file with the SEC. Disclosable offenses include civil judgments, criminal cases and regulatory fines from within the past 10 years.
Over the years, UBS Wealth Management has faced several multimillion-dollar fines related to allegations about not properly disclosing trading information, not registering with the proper authorities and not having the right price procedures in place for some products. Most recently, in 2020, the SEC alleged that UBS did not comply with certain retail order period restrictions in new issue municipal bond offerings. Specifically, the SEC alleged that it had allocated bonds intended for retail customers to customers who resold the bonds to other broker-dealers at a profit. The firm paid over $10 million to resolve the issue.
For more information on UBS Wealth Management and to view the firm’s disciplinary track record, you can go to its IAPD page.
UBS Wealth Management has approximately 370 office locations throughout the United States. In its Form ADV, the firm lists office locations in the following states. However, it also provides this map on its website that may highlight further office locations.
Beyond its physical locations, UBS Wealth Management is also registered to serve investors in most states, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
UBS Wealth Management is a large global financial institution, which has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your goals. If you’re looking for lots of investment choices and a place that can handle all your financial needs, UBS Wealth Management may be a great fit. The firm offers all kinds of different investment programs as well as financial planning, retail banking and retirement plan consulting. It’s also nice that you can use some of its programs with a minimum investment as low as $5,000, making the firm accessible to all levels of investors.
But the firm’s size does have downsides. It can feel overwhelming navigating all of the different programs, and you won’t get personalized attention from senior management, like you might at a boutique RIA. In addition, UBS Wealth Management’s fees can potentially run high.
A lot depends on whether you get along with the local advisor you’re matched with, since they design the portfolio and negotiate the fees. Before you make your decision, be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.
The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.