An increasing number of players in the competitive, saturated robo-advice space are struggling to achieve scale. Swiss wealth manager UBS is continuing the trend of large firms phasing out their products, today announcing the sale of its SmartWealth platform to US robo-advisor SigFig.
Launched in March 2017, SmartWealth is a fairly standard robo-advisory product that gives users access to investment strategies entirely online through a number of funds constructed and managed by UBS.
As compared to UBS’ traditional wealth management services, SmartWealth was built for clientele who don’t meet the £2 million minimum. An investor can sign on to SmartWealth with only £15,000.
However, the service is currently suspended for new clients, though existing customers can still log in.
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UBS says that the decision came at this time because it believes that SmartWealth’s near-term potential is limited. It has therefore decided to close its digital-only offering in the UK, though it was “satisfied with the commercial progress of the service.”
The SmartWealth technology, which was built entirely in-house, was sold to San Francisco-based SigFig, which UBS acquired an equity stake in two years ago as part of a wider partnership. In addition to the money, the pair launched a joint advice-technology research and innovation lab, where UBS financial advisors, product experts and technologists work with SigFig’s digital experts.
UBS said: “We are confident that SigFig is best placed to accelerate and broaden the commercial prospects of the IP behind UBS SmartWealth.”
“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,” it added.