The majority of UBS Wealth Management’s net new money during the first quarter this year came from Asia-Pacific investors, according to the bank’s quarterly results.
Out of the total $22bn in net inflows, $16.3bn came from Asia-Pacific, followed by Switzerland ($3.2bn) and Europe, Middle East and Africa ($2.9bn). On the flipside, the Americas saw net outflows of $100m.
The Asia-Pacific figure compares to just $6.3bn of net inflows during the same period last year. In addition, the Q1 figure is roughly the same as the region’s full-year inflows of CHF 17.3bn ($16.96) last year.
Group profit down
Globally, UBS Wealth’s client assets increased to $2.71trn as of the end of March from $2.3trn in December.
However, global operating profit for the wealth unit before tax during the quarter was at $863m, which is 22% lower compared to $1.1bn during the same period last year, according to the report.
UBS Group in total reported a net profit drop of 27% to $1.1bn compared to the same quarter in 2018.
The Asia wealth results have therefore been a bright spot in an otherwise unsatisfactory quarter.
Amy Lo, co-head of wealth management for Asia-Pacific, said in a statement that the firm’s Asia-Pacific inflows are due to the out-performance of its “managed solutions” (discretionary portfolio business), which are driving the adoption of investment mandates among UBS Wealth’s clients.
“Our global CIO call in early 2019 to stay invested and diversified with an overweight position in equities proved to be the right one, with strong performance for the year so far in mandates reflecting our CIO views,” she said.
August Hatecke, co-head of wealth management for Asia-Pacific, added that the firm believes there is rising interest in sustainable investing in Asia-Pacific. For example, the assets in the firm’s sustainable investing mandate, which launched in the region in April last year, have reached $550m.
Separately, the firm’s invested assets in Asia-Pacific have reached $405bn as of the end of March from $357bn in December, according to the report.
The firm cited its 2018 report in conjunction with PWC that concluded “Asia-Pacific billionaires are likely to be wealthier than their American peers in less than three years”.
“This presents tremendous growth opportunities for wealth managers, and Asia remains one of the most important sources of new business opportunities for UBS globally,” the statement said.