UBS Group, a Swiss investment banking giant, is creating a venture capital fund with a corpus of hundreds of millions of dollars of its own fund, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
The venture fund will exclusively back fintech projects in three broad categories – client engagement, investing and financing platforms, and startups improving underlying operations of the bank.
The banking giant has already started the screening of potential companies within the sector and is planning to make investments between $10 million and $20 million in dozens of companies.
Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” the publication outlined that the bank is considering holding its investments for at least five years.
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Notably, UBS is still in the hiring process to build its team responsible for handling its venture investments.
“UBS wants to further engage with and support fintech firms,” Mike Dargan, global head group technology at UBS, told the publication. “The new venture investment portfolio is a next step to accelerate our innovation and digitization efforts.”
The Swiss bank’s step towards the venture capital followed as Ralph Hamers took charge of the bank last October. Hamers is an advocate of digital banking, and with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, many, including banking, are pivoting towards digital services.
A late entry into the venture capital space?
Though UBS is just starting to get some stake in the fintech companies, its American rivals already have a deep presence in the industry. Even Zurich-headquartered Credit Suisse is investing in fintech startups through its entrepreneur capital arm.
Bloomberg also pointed out that UBS is planning to tap the wealthy in the Chinese market and is in the process of obtaining a digital fund distribution license.