Awards for Distinction 2014 – Discretionary Portfolio Services


AFD2014_Best Private Bank - Discretionary Portfolio Services

UBS Wealth Management

Patrick Grossholz

Patrick Grossholz
Head of Investment Management APAC
UBS Wealth Management

A compelling confirmation of trust between a client and a bank, some consider discretionary portfolio management the Holy Grail of private banking. As a consequence, many private banks in the region are focussing considerable time and resources on developing discretionary platforms that, although in their infancy in terms of client adoption, are world-class in terms of technology and product innovation.Of these banks, UBS Wealth Management has distinguished itself on the basis of team size – not merely in absolute numbers but also in seniority and assets under management – both as an absolute number as well as a percentage of a large base of total assets.

450 UBS Investment Management specialists manage the bank’s discretionary assets globally, with a team of 70 specialists dedicated to Asia – a testimony to the bank’s intention to develop a comprehensive and best-in-class platform in the region. Indeed, some of the more novel features of the bank’s discretionary offering, client videos for example, were first developed in Asia and then replicated globally. Moreover, Asian clients can choose from 13 disparate investment mandates, or, clients who wish to invest US$10 million and above in discretionary mandates can opt for a customisable Special Mandate Portfolio. Aptly, senior management at the bank insists that customisation isn’t a value proposition in itself and that the pivot for all discretionary mandates should be, and is, a long-term investment strategy based on a considered and strategic asset allocation.

A crucial differentiator for the purpose of judging this award was the bank’s ability to prove neutrality in portfolio construction. Its decision to keep Asian mandates free from retrocessions and other hidden fees and its largely quantitative manager screening process, both go a long way in demonstrating this neutrality. Indeed, external managers account for over 50% of funds in its model “Classic” portfolio. Whilst this number is not particularly high compared with the proportion of external managers in portfolios at some of the boutique banks that also offer discretionary mandates, it is high when viewed in the larger context of the size of the bank’s asset management business.

All of these factors, coupled with its overarching commitment to client interests, make UBS Wealth Management the deserved winner of the award for Best Private Bank – Discretionary Portfolio Services in 2014.