Swiss bank UBS expands presence in US through acquisition of Wealthfront

UBS has revealed its plans to acquire Wealthfront, an automated wealth management provider in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.4 billion.

Through this acquisition, UBS aims to accelerate its growth the US, broaden the firm’s reach among affluent investors and expand its distribution and capabilities.

Wealthfront has more than over $27 billion in assets under management and over 470,000 clients in the US. The platform helps clients manage their wealth by providing access to financial planning capabilities, banking services and investment management solutions.

The clients of the platform will benefit from the acquisition by gaining access to UBS’s wealth management capabilities, including the UBS Chief Investment Office’s thought leadership and a global footprint.

Wealthfront’s existing clients will continue to have access to automated investing and personalized financial planning. In addition to investing services, they will also continue to have access to Wealthfront’s banking services, including securities backed loans, instant transfers to investment accounts, direct deposit, bill pay, and transfer services.

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Ralph Hamers, Group Chief Executive Officer of UBS, said:

Adding Wealthfront’s capabilities and client base to our global investment ecosystem will significantly boost our ability to grow our business in the US. Wealthfront complements our core business in the US providing wealth management to high net worth and high net worth investors through trusted relationships with financial advisors, and will enhance our long-term ambition to deliver a scalable, digital-led wealth management solution to affluent investors.

Millennial and Gen Z investors

The main focus of Wealthfront is millennial and Gen Z investors. As a client segment, they have significant domestic growth potential with 130 million investors in the US alone.

Following the acquisition, Wealthfront’s capabilities will become the foundation of UBS’s new digital offering which will also include access to remote human advice.

Additionally, UBS’s existing offering will also expand through the firm’s Wealth Advice Center with primary focus on serving core affluent clients. Its Workplace Wealth Solutions business will also be a great addition as it works with employees of corporate clients on equity plan participation, financial education and retirement programs.

David Fortunato, Chief Executive Officer of Wealthfront, added:

Partnering with UBS will allow Wealthfront to offer our clients additional value-added services and best in class research that will help accelerate our vision to make growing wealth delightfully easy. We couldn’t be more excited to have found a strategic partner who has the same view on the power of technology as we do. We look forward to providing our service to even more millennial and Gen Z investors.

Following the closure of the deal, expected in the second half of 2022, Wealthfront will become a wholly owned subsidiary of UBS and will operate as a business within UBS Global Wealth Management Americas.

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