UBS Developing Mobile App Tool to Make FAs ‘Omnipresent:’ Exec

By Miriam Rozen October 28, 2020

UBS is developing a new mobile app tool that will allow clients to videoconference with financial advisors with one click, according to Tom Naratil, co-president of the bank’s global wealth management unit.

The new tool will help clients circumvent cumbersome log-ins necessary to use alternative Webex, Google Chat or Zoom videoconferencing methods of communication, said Naratil, who is also president of UBS Americas.

The new tool will make UBS advisors “omnipresent,” Naratil said yesterday during a BloombergLive webcast, entitled “Technology and the Changing Future of Investing.”

It will be an enhancement of the UBS mobile app that clients now use for bill payments, deposits and other digitally-accomplished tasks, Naratil said.

“I think this concept of, ‘My advisor is always in my device that I’m carrying around, with the omnipresent advisor always there to help me and my family,’ that’s just really a fantastic solution for us to develop for our clients,” he said.

At UBS’ competitors, Wells Fargo advisors and clients use Zoom to videoconference, a bank spokesperson tells FA-IQ. Merrill Lynch ranks Cisco’s Webex as its “preferred provider” for FAs and clients to videoconference, a wirehouse spokesperson told FA-IQ in August. A Morgan Stanley spokesperson did not respond to questions for this story.

UBS is accelerating its technology development, thanks to a cost-sharing pact with Broadridge Financial Solutions, according to Naratil and Tim Gokey, CEO of Broadridge. Gokey was also on the webcast, which was sponsored by Broadridge.

UBS plans to introduce in 2021 a suite of new technology tools for its financial advisors. The new tools — expected in the second half of next year — will include technology that will allow financial advisors to more easily onboard their clients digitally.

Training that allows FAs to ‘play around,’ ‘make mistakes’

Meanwhile, Naratil said UBS is developing a training program to prompt more advisors to use its planned new wealth management platform, which Broadridge is helping create.

The new training program will allow advisors to use a “sandbox” version of the platform, and “play around” and “make mistakes” before going live with clients, Naratil said.

The UBS and Broadridge tech development team worked with “adult learning experts” to identify how to make such training “relevant” for advisors, Naratil said. The sandbox will allow advisors and client-service associates to “learn from making mistakes,” but those mistakes won’t be made in the “real world,” he added.

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital tools by both clients and advisors, according to Naratil.

“In a small, short period of two to five months, we probably saw two to five years of increased technology adoption,” he said.

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