Business

UBS Asia-Pacific invested assets up 28% in 2017

UBS Wealth Management Asia-Pacific enjoyed a stellar 12 months in 2017 thanks to booming share markets around the world and an influx of new money.

The Asia-Pacific unit's invested assets rose 28 per cent to 373 billion Swiss francs (S$523 billion) in 2017, the strongest year since 2010, compared with 292 billion Swiss francs in 2016. Net new money surged by 37 per cent to 28.4 billion Swiss francs.

Invested assets have grown at an annual compounded rate of 20 per cent over the past two years while the number of client advisers has been consistent - 1,016 in 2016 and 1,037 last year.

UBS Wealth Management Asia-Pacific head Edmund Koh said: "We're fortunate in Asia to be in an area of growth. I'm glad that despite competition we surged ahead in the right way. More of new money is from existing clients than new clients."

The Asia-Pacific unit made a 21 per cent contribution to the bank's global wealth management division.

The overall pace of wealth creation is expected to remain brisk, even as interest rates are likely to creep up. UBS expects three rate hikes in the US this year, which may influence Singapore Sibor rates.

"We think three-month Sibor would be near 2 per cent a year from now. But corporate earnings will be sustainable and economic growth as well," said Mr Koh.

"Asia should still push its weight even with slightly slower growth in China. Those are good numbers. India should continue to grow and countries in South-east Asia."

Mr Koh estimates that 65 per cent of net new money last year came from existing clients with the rest from new clients. The influx of funds from new clients should help to propel further asset growth this year. UBS expects to continue with three initiatives begun last year -ONE Wealth Management, UBS Unique and its China expansion.

More recently, UBS Wealth Management announced a joint venture with Qianhai Financial Holdings, which is expected to be the vehicle for an online fund distribution business. - THE STRAITS TIMES