UBS, the Swiss banking giant, has shut down Smartwealth, its robo-advice service, less than two years after its launch in the UK.
The platform was established in November 2016. In a statement UBS said that it had satisfactory commercial progress, however, it said that it was shut down after the “near-term potential” was estimated to be limited.
The customers were informed that money will still be invested up to a maximum of 60 days. However, after that period, the investments will be sold with the proceeds returned to a nominated bank account.
In an email that was sent to Smartwealth users, the bank stated: “We are very proud of UBS Smartwealth, however a review by the new Global Wealth Management leadership concluded that we will focus investments in the UK on our advisor-led Wealth Management business.”
It added: “Our priority now is to ensure that all clients of UBS Smartwealth receive the support and attention you deserve.
It continued: “We want to assure you that we and our team are committed to minimising your inconvenience and to ensure that in closing your account we treat you fairly.”
The bank said that the assets cannot be transferred to another provider and customers without assets of over £2m are not eligible to become direct clients of UBS Wealth Management.
The said platform was designed for customers with a minimum of £15,000 to invest.
The intellectual property that are connected to Smartwealth has been sold to Sig Fig, a financial technology company where UBS has an equity stake in.
A spokesperson from UBS stated: “We are proud of the award-winning technology we have developed and were satisfied with the initial commercial progress of UBS Smartwealth.”
He added: “Having conducted a thorough assessment, however, at this time we believe the near-term potential is limited and have therefore decided to close our digital-only offering in the UK.
He continued: “We are pleased, however, to have entered into an agreement to sell the intellectual property relating to UBS SmartWealth to SigFig – a financial technology firm that we have an equity stake in and with whom we’ve been working for two years in the US.
He added: “We are confident that SigFig is best placed to accelerate and broaden the commercial prospects of the IP behind UBS SmartWealth.
He concluded: “We believe the decision serves the best interests of the business and will allow us to invest further in other client-facing improvements, whilst sharing in the future success of the IP we have created via our equity holding and ongoing partnership with SigFig.”