Five wins at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2017 tell the story of trend-setting, triumph and turnaround.
But for many the awards ceremony on Thursday evening belonged to Wealth Management Americas (WMA), whose award for Best Bank for Wealth Management in North America stood testament to both its post-financial crisis comeback and industry-leading model.
"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by Euromoney as North America's top wealth manager," said Tom Naratil, President Wealth Management Americas and President Americas. "This award is a testament to the hard work of our financial advisors and our employee teams who support them. I'm very proud of their dedication to consistently and expertly deliver meaningful advice along with UBS's global capabilities for the benefit of our clients."
An Americas comeback
WMA's post-2008 resurgence was led by Bob McCann – today Chairman UBS Americas, but at the time head of our US business.
In December of 2012 he expressed a wish to create the best wealth management business in the Americas bar none. This was roughly half way into the six-year turnaround that would see WMA transformed from an unprofitable wealth manager into one with more than one trillion dollars in invested assets, north of one billion dollars in recurring net fee income1, and Financial Advisors with revenues in excess of one million dollars each.
Bob was succeeded as President Wealth Management Americas in January 2016, by Tom, a 34-year veteran of UBS and PaineWebber. And right away, Tom began to build on the foundation laid under Bob's leadership.
Five and half months later, following a nationwide series of meet-and-greets to get feedback directly from WMA advisors, Tom announced a new operating model. It was designed around four priority areas. Two of these at the time ran contrary to industry trends but, by mid-2017, competitors had followed suit.
Better than ever
The model for today's WMA is focused on retaining and rewarding the best financial advisors, as opposed to recruiting. It has devolved decision-making to branches, where clients' needs are best understood. It's focused on forging closer links with the Investment Bank and Wealth Management to offer the full depth and breadth of our firm. And it’s focused on investing in next-generation technologies to make sure advisors have the best tools for doing their jobs.
Already the move has paid dividends, with WMA having reported its best-ever first quarter results in 2017. It's also positioned the business better than ever to take advantage of prevailing market opportunities and demographic trends among its client base.
Meanwhile, major wins for both the Investment Bank and our Swiss business – including Best Bank in Switzerland for the sixth consecutive year – also made the awards ceremony a night to remember.
The award for best bank in our home market is fresh recognition of our leading universal offering. Wealth Management, Asset Management, the Investment Bank, and our Personal and Corporate Banking businesses occupy the top position in market segments across the board. And our unwavering commitment to clients and employees alike continues to draw new volume and the best talent to our firm.
Indeed, the Investment Bank picked up at Euromoney 2017 right where it left off a year ago.
Having won the inaugural Best Bank for Markets in Western Europe award in 2016, the division last night underscored its dominance in the region, winning Best Bank for Advisory. On top of this, the business's relentless focus on excellence in advice, quality and execution saw it take home the awards for both Best Investment Bank in Switzerland and Best Investment Bank in Italy.
"These awards underscore our commitment to help clients throughout the world achieve their goals," said Tom. "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Financial Advisors and other colleagues across all of our businesses, UBS is continuing to differentiate itself in the world's largest, fastest growing and most important markets — including the US and Switzerland. Collaboration across the Group makes us better than we would be on our own, and we should all proudly share in this recognition."