Back-Office innovation

UBS: New Operating Model Moves Decision Making Closer to Clients

FA compensation model will increase advisor retention, drive organic growth

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

June 09, 2016 — NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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.
    Together, these changes help minimize bureaucracy and eliminate obstacles that can distract us from improving our clients' lives, while expanding our advisors’ capabilities
  • 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.



About UBS
UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS’s strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in 54 countries, with about 34% of its employees working in the Americas, 35% in Switzerland, 18% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 13% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs approximately 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Wealth Management Americas
Wealth Management Americas is one of the leading wealth managers in the Americas in terms of financial advisor productivity and invested assets. Its business includes UBS’s domestic US and Canadian wealth management businesses, as well as international business booked in the US. It provides a fully integrated set of wealth management solutions designed to address the needs of ultra high net worth and high net worth clients.