UBS closes robo-adviser to new clients

UBS is shutting its UK-based digital advice business, SmartWealth, and selling the technology to SigFig, a Silicon Valley-based startup.

The SmartWealth service was launched in 2016, with the UK intended to be the first of many countries it was rolled out to, but the Swiss bank has now decided the short-term potential of the business is “limited”.

A note on the bank’s website says that while existing clients can still log into the service, it would not be accepting any new customers.

UBS SmartWealth was aimed at a wealthier market than most robo-advisers, with a minimum investment of £15,000, with customers paying an all-inclusive rate of 1% for passive portfolios and 1.7%

In a statement UBS said: “We are proud of the award-winning technology we have developed and were satisfied with the initial commercial progress of UBS SmartWealth.

“Having conducted a thorough assessment, however, at this time we believe the near-term potential is limited and have therefore decided to close our digital-only offering in the UK.

“We are confident that SigFig is best placed to accelerate and broaden the commercial prospects of the intellectual property behind UBS SmartWealth.

The deal, terms of which were disclosed, tightens the two-year relationship between SigFig and UBS. The Swiss bank also has an equity stake in SigFig.

“This acquisition underscores our strong, growing relationship with UBS, as we work together to provide better digital financial solutions to advisors and their clients,” SigFig chief executive Mike Sha said in a statement.

“More specifically, an increasing number of consumers, banks and enterprises in the UK are seeking digital wealth management solutions, and we saw this deal as a perfect opportunity to quickly establish a veteran technology team and UK compliant offering.”

The system uses proprietary technology to provides regulated and real-time advice online.

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