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UBS robo arm shuts up UK shop, sells to US fintech

The UBS Smart Wealth platform launched in 2017 with the goal of providing a low cost digital wealth management service from the bank more synonymous with billionaires.

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UBS Smart Wealth, the robo advice division of the behemoth Swiss bank, has closed its operation in the UK, according to a statement by the firm.

Launched back 2017 UBS Smart Wealth offered investors digital managed portfolios to investors with a minimum of just £15,000. This is vastly lower than the minimum £2m portfolio size the bank had traditionally expected. Investors were given the choice between active or passive strategies.

While details are not fully clear as to the reasons for the closure of the Smart Wealth platform, a spokeswoman for UBS said that the firm saw a lack of near term commercial potential.

 “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.”

The Smart Wealth intellectual property has been sold on to US-based wealth management start-up SigFig. UBS holds an equity stake in SigFig and has been working with the firm for the past two years, it says.

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

“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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