Finance

UBS is bringing back a junior analyst role in its wealth management arm as the industry grapples with recruiting fresh talent (UBS)

  • UBS is bringing back its wealth planning analyst role next year, according to an internal memo sent to financial advisers on Tuesday and reviewed by Business Insider. 
  • It’s also offering a new incentive program for a support role known as the “branch technology liaison.” 
  • The shifts comes as the broader industry struggles with attracting fresh talent. Other major wealth managers have made similar strides in drawing young advisers and training them up.
  • Visit BI Prime for more wealth management stories.

UBS is bringing back its wealth planning analyst role next year, according to an internal memo sent to financial advisers on Tuesday and reviewed by Business Insider.

Jason Chandler, the head of UBS’s US wealth management business, said in the memo that it was re-establishing its wealth planning analyst position and also offering a new incentive program for an adviser support role known as the “branch technology liaison.” 

The position will not be a full-fledged adviser, and its addition shows how the firm is looking to beef up its youngest ranks in wealth. 

Chandler said that the move was in response to hearing feedback from advisers, and that the unit’s hope was to dedicate more resources to support planning and technology needs of high- and ultra-high-net-worth clients.

The shifts comes as the broader industry struggles with attracting fresh talent to fill roles and build a pipeline as an adviser retirement cliff looms. 

Business Insider reported last month that Morgan Stanley has in the last year turned to a group of junior, “technology-savvy” wealth management staffers, who are not yet full-fledged advisers, to assist financial advisers in getting up to speed on new tech capabilities.

The New York firm’s thinking is similar to that of UBS: those functions can make advisers’ lives easier and also form a pipeline for talent. 

Merrill Lynch is grappling with the same industry trends. Financial-advisers-in-training at Bank of America’s wealth-management arm who exit the trainee program without becoming full-fledged advisers are more commonly transitioning to different roles within the firm instead of leaving altogether, Business Insider reported in October.  

Other changes are afoot for UBS next year in its US wealth management business. It’s creating new “private wealth services” hubs in New York, Florida, Chicago, Dallas, and on the West Coast dedicated to the more affluent set of its US clients.

It’s also cutting the number of US wealth management divisions in half, from six to three (east, central, and west). 

UBS this year is on track this year to triple the number of US-based financial adviser recruits that it hired in 2018, according to an internal memo reviewed by Business Insider last month.

Still, its headcount around the world has dipped over the last year.  Globally, total advisers fell to 10,118 from 10,556 (of which 1,068 cater to ultra-high-net-worth clients). US advisers oversee some $1.3 trillion in client assets.

And in the US, adviser headcount at UBS shrank by 4% to 6,627  at the end of the third quarter, down from from 6,910 advisers the same period a year earlier.

The wealth industry — traditional wirehouses, independent registered investment advisers, and retail banks — is aging. The average US financial adviser is 52 years old, according to research provider Cerulli Associates, and those under 35 comprise just 9% of the total workforce.

Over the next decade, some 37% of advisers overseeing about 39% of industry assets are expected to retire. The majority of those retirements are expected to come from wirehouses and independent broker-dealers.

“While some progress is being made, the industry is struggling to recruit and retain advisor talent that is adequately prepared to inherit the businesses,” Michael Rose, the associate director of wealth management at Cerulli, said in a November report.

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