UBS upgrades data and analytics platform for advisors

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Six thousand UBS financial advisors are getting a new platform for market data, investment research, portfolio analytics and risk assessment.

UBS Wealth Management is leaving behind the legacy Thomson One product for Refinitiv’s web-based Workspace for Financial Advisors suite. It is available now through UBS’s existing workstation, and will play a starring role on the next-generation advisor platform UBS is building with Broadridge Financial Solutions.

Workspace improves how UBS distributes proprietary risk ratings and investment research to financial advisors, says Chris Sparke, Refinitiv’s global head of advisory solutions. Advisors will get a smarter search engine to find securities and funds, with new features like ESG screening and relevance to news stories. Clients get more relevant insights and information about their portfolios.

And because Workspace is web-based, advisors can access it from desktop computers and mobile devices, according to Jeanne Andreana, UBS Global Wealth Management’s head of digital strategy and platforms.

“Those are things that they don’t have today,” says Andreana.

UBS also plans to take advantage of some of Refinitiv’s infrastructure technology and APIs to connect advisor workstations and support integration with third-party fintechs, Sparke says. This connectivity will let advisors pull up news updates, client portfolios or investment research without having to navigate to a new application.

“It allows UBS to build and design their advisor experience as it pertains to content and information and data,” he says.

UBS already has a relationship with Refinitiv, previously known as Thomson Reuters’ Financial & Risk unit (which produced the Thomson One product). The firm changed names following a 2018 deal with private equity firm Blackstone Group.

The UBS deal is a win for Refinitiv’s ongoing expansion into the financial advice market. The company acquired digital wealth management provider Scivantage in March, and portfolio analyst and robo-advice firm Advisor Software in July. Refinitiv also has a partnership with robo-advice firm SigFig and an API suite for advisory firms to access its data, news and analytics capabilities.

In September, turnkey asset management platform AssetMark announced it would use Refinitiv’s BETA securities processing and custody platform for straight-through account processing.

Roughly 150,000 advisors in the U.S. use Refinitiv’s wealth services, and UBS is one of its larger clients, according to Sparke.

Partnering with Refinitiv is part of an ongoing $3.5 billion overhaul to UBS’ technology, according to UBS AG Americas head of technology Bobby Anselmo. UBS is striving to create a “scalable industry utility” and futureproof the firm’s infrastructure, Anselmo says.

“If we’re going to do this and do it right, we really needed the best-in-breed market data provider and analytics provider,” he adds.

The company is already seeing a return on its technology investment, including new billing methodology and being able to support 95% of its employees around the world to work remotely during the pandemic, Anselmo says.

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