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UBS Is Unifying Disparate Advisor-Service Platforms

July 24, 2015

UBS’s U.S. wealth-management division is the latest big advice firm to jump on the platform-unification bandwagon, unveiling the combination of its separately managed account, unified managed account and other advisor systems into one integrated platform, FundFire writes.

UBS is working with Vestmark on the planned two-year transition, starting with shifting its Strategic Wealth Portfolio (its unified managed account program) and Access (its single-contract separately managed account program) onto Vestmark’s platform, according to FundFire. The platform overhaul may be a precursor to other companywide changes, such as transitioning from manager-traded SMAs to the model-delivery method across its various platforms, people with knowledge of the matter tell FundFire.

UBS is joining several other big brokerages and banks who are already unifying their advisor platforms, including Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Advisors, Oppenheimer & Co. and Cetera Financial, reports the trade publication.

UBS’s push for a singular platform is meant to “make it easy” for advisors to provide “holistic” advice, Jeff Miller, managing director and head of wealth management, advice and platforms for UBS, tells FundFire. The unified managed account approach is being embraced by the industry because it is cheaper to buy and use for delivering model-based programs, Paul Ahern, president and founding principal of Winslow Capital Group, tells the publication. Ahearn adds that regardless of the enthusiasm advisors now have for adopting the approach, they will need it to stay competitive. “The UMA is going from being a product to a platform,” Tom O’Shea, associate director at Cerulli says, adding that this transformation will trigger a refocus away from advisor programs as “silos” to understanding who has discretion over assets.

By Alex Padalka
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