UBS Wealth Management pulls out of Australia


By Julie May

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UBS Wealth Management is pulling out of the Australian market, with a number of the company’s advisers exiting the group to establish a spin-off entity called Crestone Wealth Management, following a long period of uncertainty around the division’s future.

Former UBS head of wealth management Michael Chisholm will be the chief executive of Crestone.

A spokesperson for UBS confirmed the decision to financialobserver this morning and said an official announcement would be provided with more information later today.

Chisholm said in a statement almost the entire group of client advisers and the senior management team had indicated their intention to join Crestone.

Crestone would have a leading global IT platform that would provide clients with real time data and best in class portfolio reporting, a group announcement said.

“It is intended that Crestone will provide a comprehensive suite of products, and is in advanced discussions with leading Australian domestic banks to complete the bank product offering,” it said.

“Assets of clients will be custodised with a global triple A rated custodian [and] Crestone intends to access UBS's global macro-economic and local equities research and its capital markets deal flow.”

Chisholm said the group’s objective was to create Australia’s first independent global wealth manager – combining an in-depth knowledge of local equities with access to the best range of global products including international direct equities, international OTC fixed income, multicurrency accounts, foreign exchange and international margin lending.

"We will also be looking at opportunities to continually grow our product offering to suit our clients’ investment objectives," Chisholm said.

Geoff Stansen, Gary MacKenzie, Andrew Lees, Leigh Birtles and Don Chandler were among a group of senior advisers from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane who, together with senior management, had led the push for the creation of a new partnership firm.

Crestone expected to be operational from October 2015, the group said.

Meanwhile earlier this month, financialobserver reported the future of UBS Wealth Management Australia remained uncertain amid ongoing speculation of a possible sale. 

UBS Wealth Management chief executive Juerg Zeltner confirmed in April that the global banking giant was conducting a review of its Australian business. 

“It’s very obvious if you run a global business, that [reviewing business units] is part of an ongoing process,” he said at the time. 

“You have businesses that perform extremely well and you have businesses that struggle. 

“That’s part of performance assessment and, yes, we’re reviewing our business in Australia.” 

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