UBS Wealth Management Americas posted a small increase in advisor headcount and added $300 million in new assets during the third quarter. Both are the first gains after two quarters of declines. Last quarter, UBS had outflows of $3.4 billion.
The unit posted profits of $307 million, which was $231 million less than last year’s Q3. The bank attributed this to lower commissions as more clients shift towards a fee-based planning model. Another factor is that UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti noted that it doesn’t include interest and dividends when calculating asset growth unlike US competitors. In future quarters, the company will be calculating asset growth in this manner.
In the quarter, advisor headcount increased from 6,071 to 6,142. However, headcount is still down 2% on a year-over-year basis. The company said in part this is due to its recruitment efforts focusing on a small group of high-producing advisors. Ermotti added that the company is resuming growth bonuses for any advisors who add million-dollar clients.
Overall, US brokers managed $1.76 trillion in client assets which was up 16% compared to last year primarily due to asset price appreciation. UBS’ Americas unit is a laggard relative to other geographies within the company and its US-based competitors when it comes to asset growth.
Finsum: UBS posted a small increase in net new assets and advisor headcount. The company is focused on boosting asset growth through the recruitment of high-earning brokers.