UBS Wealth Management Americas Introduces New Operating Model

New York - 8 June 2016

New field structure, FA compensation model designed to move decision-making and resources closer to clients, increase advisor retention, and drive organic growth.

Follows recent investments in technology and enhanced partnership with UBS’s non-US Wealth Management business

UBS Wealth Management Americas (WMA) announced today it is introducing a new operating model designed to move decision-making and resources closer to clients and drive organic growth through an increased focus on advisor retention. Specifically, WMA is changing its field structure and its compensation plans for financial advisors and field management, as well as reducing advisor recruiting by 40 percent.

“With an enhanced operating model that builds on our success over the past six years, we are positioning UBS Wealth Management Americas to deliver an even better experience for our clients and their financial advisors,” said Tom Naratil, President Americas and WMA. “We are realigning resources and investing in our people and platform, while putting a stake in the ground that relentless and costly advisor recruiting is not sustainable as a growth strategy in this industry.”

WMA initiated several changes as part of the new operating model, including:

  • Delayering the field structure: WMA will now be organized into four divisions, 43 markets and 208 branches. Previously, its structure included two divisions, eight regions, 63 complexes and 189 branches. By eliminating the regional layer and realigning into larger markets, WMA is giving field leaders broader spans of control and moving decision-making authority closer to clients.
  • Enhancing and simplifying FA compensation: As part of a shift in focus from recruiting to retaining and rewarding its best advisors, WMA has launched a simpler advisor compensation plan that is easier to understand and rewards productivity, growth and loyalty. The plan includes increased payouts for advisors with the largest books of business, incentives for advisors to form teams, which has been shown to benefit clients, and an enhanced program for advisors seeking to transition out of the business and transfer their practice to another UBS advisor.
  • Aligning Field Manager compensation: WMA is modifying its compensation plans for field leaders so that they are both rewarded and held accountable for the decisions they make.
  • Shifting home office resources to the field: WMA is streamlining management in its home office in order to reinvest in staff and resources that make a tangible difference for clients and advisors.

Today’s announcement follows WMA’s recent investment and strategic alliance with SigFig to develop financial technology for WMA, and last month's announcement that WMA would collaborate more closely with the UBS Wealth Management business outside the US to achieve synergies and enhance services.

“Together, these changes help minimize bureaucracy and eliminate obstacles that can distract us from improving our clients' lives, while expanding our advisors’ capabilities and enhancing the client experience,” said Naratil. “UBS WMA has strong momentum and a unique opportunity to ‘feel small and play big’ by combining the client focus of a boutique firm with all the capabilities of the only truly global wealth manager. Coupled with the most productive advisors in the industry, this operating model will take us even further on our journey to being the firm of choice for ultra- and high-net worth clients and their advisors.”

As part of the new field structure, Brian Hull will continue as Head of the Client Advisory Group, overseeing four divisions, led by: Jason Chandler (Northeast), Bill Carroll (Central), Brad Smithy (Southeast), and Lane Strumlauf (West). John Mathews will continue as Head of Private Wealth Management.

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