UBS shutters UK robo platform

UBS has shuttered its robo-advice offering in the UK after less than two years since its launch.

UBS SmartWealth, a digital wealth platform that assesses clients' financial situation and risk profile to recommend a relevant investment option, has closed to new clients, according to its website.

UBS unveiled the service in the UK in October 2016, making it first available to employees and some clients.

Soon after it launched, UBS Wealth Management global head of offering management and advice process management Claudius Sutter said "we don't consider UBS SmartWealth a robo-advisor in the traditional sense."

"That's among other things because the investment strategy definition is not driven by algorithms but by UBS' broad-based, very human investment process."

He added it constantly reviews the portfolio and provides updates and alerts to give clients a strong assurance of being paid attention to.

If clients find the platform useful, they may begin to view it not as the bank's system but as their own private tool, he said.

"That can make for a very personal experience. To be effective, however, this personal aspect must be designed into the platform from the beginning, as we have tried to do with UBS SmartWealth."

Despite the closure, UBS is still forging ahead on the innovation front, having recently partnered with a New Zealand artificial intelligence firm in July.

UBS forged a partnership with FaceMe to produce a digital version of Daniel Kalt, the bank's chief investment officer responsible for Switzerland.

The project, called UBS Companion, will allow UBS advisers to bring Kalt's expertise and knowledge into client meetings through an avatar, which will respond and interact with clients via a TV screen in the meeting room.

UBS said the project is designed to "test the acceptance of digital assistants in a wealth management context."

FaceMe created the avatar and its supporting technology in partnership with IBM, who lent its Watson technology to the cause.

Read more: UBSSmartWealthUBS SmartWealthUBS Wealth ManagementDaniel KaltClaudius SutterUBS Companion
Link to something XIRXbQE7