UBS to improve expertise in serving women

The wealth management arm of Swiss bank UBS has announced a five-year plan aimed at improving its expertise in serving women clients.

The move involves embedding gender as a consideration in its standard processes, establishing a dedicated advisory board, and changing its offerings of wealth management products to include more sustainability- and diversity-focused options.

Mr Jurg Zeltner, president of UBS wealth management, in a statement last Friday, said: "Research shows that women are not adequately served by wealth managers today, and this represents a huge opportunity.

"The societal and economic benefits are significant if the financial industry can get it right."

The bank's new strategy comes as women around the world become wealthier.

GENDER GAP

Research shows that women are not adequately served by wealth managers today, and this represents a huge opportunity. The societal and economic benefits are significant if the financial industry can get it right.

MR JURG ZELTNER, president of UBS wealth management.

UBS said the global wealth of women is expected to grow from US$13 trillion (S$19 trillion) to US$18 trillion by 2021.

It added that the amount of private wealth controlled by them is set to grow 1.6 per cent faster than that controlled by men, year-on-year, for the next five years.

This could mean more money going to causes that aim to bring about positive social change.

A separate UBS report conducted over two years found that women could invest US$2.3 trillion for social causes by 2021.

The study found that such investors are interested in working with wealth management professions with a greater focus on their aspirations, as opposed to purely investment outcomes.

UBS said it will start an education initiative aimed at raising the financial confidence levels of women.

Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported that women own about 30 per cent of the assets that UBS manages.

UBS is the world's largest wealth manager, with around US$1.74 trillion under management as at the end of 2015, according to London-based consultancy Scorpio Partnership.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2017, with the headline 'UBS to improve expertise in serving women'. Print Edition | Subscribe