Our commitment to clients

Suni Harford discusses key changes, developments and achievements for our business in 3Q19, and how we enhance and deliver on our commitment to our clients

02 Nov 2019

As I take on my new role as President of UBS Asset Management, I thank you for your partnership and the trust that you have placed in all of us at UBS. While I have met some of you, I have not yet met all, and so please accept this note as a first introduction until I have an opportunity to meet you in person.

Like many of you, as we move into the fourth quarter, we are positioning for 2020 and the new decade ahead. Undoubtedly it will be very different to the one now coming to an end. It has been the decade of the US dollar, the decade of US stock markets, and a decade ending with almost every asset class producing significant returns.

Surely interesting times lie ahead. As we move from "lower for longer" into a prolonged period of negative rates and a shift from monetary policy to fiscal policy, we expect to battle a world of lower returns, higher volatility and uncertainty around correlations. At UBS Asset Management, we are well prepared to address these challenges and more:

  • UBS reported strong 3Q19 financial results, against a continuing challenging macro environment. If you missed them, you can download (PDF, 953 KB) and read about them..
  • Since taking on my new role at the start of October, we announced Barry Gill as my successor as Head of Investments, and Ian McIntosh as Barry's successor as the Head of Active Equities. Barry was previously our Head of Active Equities, and he brings extensive investment knowledge and insights, as well as proven leadership skills built during his 25 year career at UBS. Ian has been Deputy Head of Active Equities since 2016 and brings a strong investment background from both a fundamental and quantitative perspective with over 20 years in the industry and 15 years at UBS.
  • Looking more broadly at our Investments business, we are beginning to see the impact of the build-out of our Quantitative Evidence and Data Science team, where UBS Asset Management has been a first mover in the key area of incorporating quant and data science principles into our fundamental investment processes. This effort was featured in Waters Technology in October, and I encourage you to take a look.
  • Demonstrated leadership isn't just limited to the world of quantitative data. Our investments in China, emerging markets and sustainability, and client service have all been recognized recently:
  • In October, we were ranked #1 by Broadridge in their inaugural ranking of 60 international asset managers operating onshore in China;
  • UBS was named as the industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fifth year in a row;
  • ShareAction ranked UBS Asset Management as the leading asset manager for voting on climate resolutions and advancing climate action accountability in companies we invest in;
  • Fifteen of our REPM funds were awarded five-star status for sustainability performance in 2019 assessments announced by Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark; and
  • Broadridge ranked UBS Asset Management the Fastest Riser for Distinction in Sales Services and Marketing at the ALFI Global Distribution Conference in Luxembourg in October, recognizing our great advances in sales, marketing and brand development over the past year

In our recent client survey, I was pleased to see that your satisfaction with both our service levels and our investment performance has continued to increase, but you also told us ways in which we can continue to improve, including providing new offerings, increasing contact frequency, and enhancing the quality and timeliness of our content. Stay tuned for an update in the coming months about how we are taking action and improving our services to you. 

In closing, this letter is the beginning of a series of regular bulletins you can expect from me. I look forward to updating you on how we continue to enhance and deliver on our commitment to you.

Suni Harford

President UBS Asset Management

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