Anonymous sources claim that UBS Group AG is exploring various ways to enable its wealthy clients to invest in digital assets. A new report from BNN Bloomberg indicates that investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies are still limited to “a very small fraction of total customer wealth” due to concerns about volatility in the cryptocurrency markets.
Sources familiar with the Swiss company’s plans point out that investing in digital assets through third-party investment vehicles may be an option open to customers. None of the sources agreed to be identified due to the private nature of UBS’s plans, which are reportedly in their early stages.
UBS CEO Ralph Hammers, who unexpectedly succeeded Sergio Ermotti in 2020, has a reputation as a digitalization and automation developer. Hammers served as CEO of ING Group from 2013 to 2020 with a controversial track record.
Many praised his modernization drive and profitability, but also criticized his tenure after the bank was accused of allowing hundreds of millions of euros to launder its accounts between 2010 and 2016. The bank’s fine of € 775 million in 2018 for non-compliance was the highest. … Imposed on the company by the Dutch prosecutor’s office.
Now instructed to cut costs and try to boost UBS’s revenue, he stressed the need this year to meet “digital customer expectations,” especially in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Hammers criticizes central bank loose monetary policies, focuses on technology investments at UBS, and has moved to a quarterly disbursement of technology projects in contrast to the company’s previous strategy of fixed financing on an annual basis.
He also advocates for the use of AI to better understand customer requirements, prioritize digitizing UBS platforms and services for investment banks, and improve digital services more broadly.
Bloomberg sources said that UBS is afraid of losing customers if it does not offer them investment opportunities in digital assets. Leaping ahead of UBS, companies such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and BNY Mellon have increased their engagement in digital assets this year.