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UBS Global Asset Management has partnered with five leading fund platforms – Ascentric, Hargreaves Lansdown, Nucleus Financial, Raymond James and Transact – to make 14 core exchange-traded funds more accessible to UK financial advisers and private investors.
The move to broaden the distribution of its ETFs comes just weeks after it slashed fees across its entire advisor class of ETFs, making them among the most competitively priced available. [See UBS slashes fees across ETF range].
The Switzerland-headquartered investments giant is also understood to be in dialogue with additional platforms in a bid to further enhance its position among the UK IFA community following the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).
Andrew Walsh, Head of ETF Sales UK at UBS Global Asset Management, explained: “For IFAs, the RDR has sharpened the focus on costs and margins. Against this backdrop, we expect ETFs to become increasingly attractive in light of their low cost, efficiency and transparency. We have recently taken steps to reduce the fees for our A-share class ETFs and we are partnering with the UK’s leading platforms in our continuing efforts to make our ETFs as easily accessible as possible to financial advisors. The platform industry provides an increasingly important shop window for ETFs.”
He added: “Our approach is to offer investors a wide selection, providing ETFs in the asset classes, structures and venues that they prefer. For instance, investors can choose between physically-replicated or swap-based ETFs. Platforms are becoming ever more central to the investment landscape for financial advisers and DIY investors alike, and ETFs are seeing increased demand.”
Comments from representatives of the fund platforms suggest the outlook for ETFs is bright and demand for UBS’s products will be strong.
Dominic Ventham, Head of Marketing at Ascentric, said: “ETFs are a very important part of our asset mix representing more than £500m in terms of platform assets to date. The launch of the UBS range will extend and enhance the range of ETFs available on Ascentric and will undoubtedly fuel demand for this type of investment.”
Adam Laird, Passive Investment Manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, noted: “Exchange-traded products are an ever more important tool in retail investors’ portfolios and we have seen clients invest over three and a half times more in ETFs than we did five years ago. Our clients value choice; adding the UBS ETFs is part of our commitment to give investors access to the best range of investments.”
Barry Neilson, Business Development Director at Nucleus, said: “In the post-RDR world an investment platform is only really fit-for-purpose if it offers an unlimited range of options across all the available asset classes. As financial planners look to reduce the cost of their clients’ portfolios, we are seeing increased demand for ETFs and the availability of the UBS range on platforms enhances the options available.”
Stuart Wright, Head of Operations and Product Management at Raymond James Investment Services, commented: “Since ETFs were introduced to the UK a few years ago, they’ve grown exponentially, and we’ve seen a substantial increase in wealth managers and their clients looking to trade them. Our platform currently handles in excess of 9,000 ETF trades a year, and the new range of UBS ETFs, which are highly transparent and offer competitive fees, are an attractive addition for our wealth managers and their clients.”
With £8.5 billion in ETF assets under management, UBS is Europe’s second largest provider of physically-replicating ETFs and the fourth largest ETF provider overall. In the UK, the firm has 81 ETFs listed on the London Stock Exchange tracking a range of equity, fixed income, hedge fund and commodity indices. UBS also has funds listed on Xetra, SIX Swiss Exchange and Borsa Italiana.
The 14 ETFs added to the five UK platforms are as follows:
UBS ETF – MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-dis
UBS ETF – FTSE 100 UCITS ETF (GBP) A-dis
UBS ETFs plc – CMCI Composite SF (USD) A-acc
UBS ETFs plc – S&P 500 INDEX SF (USD) A-acc
UBS ETF – MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (JPY) A-dis
UBS ETF – MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF (USD) A-dis
UBS ETF – MSCI Canada UCITS ETF (CAD) A-dis
UBS ETF – Euro Stoxx 50 UCITS ETF (EUR) A-dis
UBS ETF – MSCI Pacific (ex Japan) UCITS ETF (USD) A-dis
UBS ETF – MSCI Europe UCITS ETF (EUR) A-dis
UBS ETF – MSCI EMU UCITS ETF (EUR) A-dis
UBS ETF – MSCI EMU Value UCITS ETF (EUR) A-dis
UBS ETF – MSCI World Socially Responsible UCITS ETF (USD) A-dis
UBS ETF – Markit iBoxx € Liquid Corporates UCITS ETF (EUR) A-dis
The ETFs are FCA recognised, have UK Reporting Fund status, are eligible for ISAs and SIPPs, and have clean share classes.