Wednesday 29 August 2018 11:42 am

UBS closes robo-advisor Smartwealth after less than two years

Swiss banking giant UBS has closed its robo-advice service Smartwealth less than two years after its UK launch.

The platform, which was established in November 2016, had satisfactory commercial progress, UBS said in a statement, but  was shut down after the "near-term potential" was judged to be limited. 

Customers were told that money will continue to be invested up to a maximum of 60 days, after which the investments will be sold with proceeds returned to a nominated bank account.

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In an email to Smartwealth users seen by City A.M. the bank said: "We are very proud of UBS Smartwealth, however a review by the new Global Wealth Management leadership concluded that we will focus investments in the UK on our advisor-led Wealth Management business.

"Our priority now is to ensure that all clients of UBS Smartwealth receive the support and attention you deserve.

"We want to assure you that we and our team are committed to minimising your inconvenience and to ensure that in closing your account we treat you fairly."

Assets cannot be transfer to another provider and customers without assets of more than £2m are not able to become direct clients of UBS Wealth Management, the bank said. 

The platform was aimed at customers with a minimum of £15,000 to invest. 

Intellectual property connected to Smartwealth has been sold to financial technology firm Sig Fig, which UBS has an equity stake in.

A UBS spokesperson 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 pleased, however, to have entered into an agreement to sell the intellectual property relating to UBS SmartWealth to SigFig – a financial technology firm that we have an equity stake in and with whom we've been working for two years in the US.

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

“We believe the decision serves the best interests of the business and will allow us to invest further in other client-facing improvements, whilst sharing in the future success of the IP we have created via our equity holding and ongoing partnership with SigFig.”

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