As UBS preps to expand its digital capabilities in wealth management, the bank will launch an Advisory Lab to further explore the most practical uses of robos, according to Richard Steinmeier, head of emerging affluent and the wealth advice center at UBS Wealth Management.
The new lab will help UBS maintain a competitive edge in the digital wealth management space, Steinmeier said at Invest 2016 last week.
We will bring our advisers in precisely to talk about how they want to apply the technology and how they see clients use it. We want our advisers [to] have the best tools possible. This way, we can help them [SigFig] develop technologies that will be more useful for both advisers and clients. And if he [SigFig] brings in a great set of capabilities that another client already has, we will still stand behind the strength of our advisers.
Roboadvising is a space that’s evolving at a pace “that’s not necessarily aligned to the way we evolve our tech and infrastructure,” Steinmeier said, and this is one of the reasons the bank partnered with SigFig last month. “When we talk about release cycles that look like months and years, we go and start having conversations with Mike [Sha, CEO SigFig] and they are talking about weekly release cycles, so we recognized that we needed a partnership model to keep up with the evolution of this industry,” he said.
The launch date for the advisory lab is unclear, but Steinmeier said UBS is still “not close” to releasing any new products with SigFig yet, until at least the end of the year.
The bank has a very specific vision on the type of products it plans to release.
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You won’t see this pop up as a new robo channel. Rather, you will see a set of capabilities; you’ll see our online, mobile and tablet capabilities get substantially better. You’ll see our aggregation capabilities go from scraping to actually giving insights and advice. Our ability in personalized digital marketing will go from nonexistent to massively scale. There’s a set of capabilities that don’t look like a channel to us, but more like a set of tools.