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UBS launches innovation centre in Singapore

UBS has launched an innovation centre in Singapore as the world's largest private bank steps up its digital offering to meet the demands of IT-savvy clients.

The UBS Centre for Design Thinking and Innovation in Singapore is the first of its kind for the Swiss bank in the Asia-Pacific, it said on Wednesday.

The Singapore centre will focused on creating new innovative and user-centric products to meet the evolving needs of clients, said Juerg Zeltner, UBS Wealth Management president.

According to the UBS PwC 2015 Billionaire Report, Asia is set to become the centre of billionaire growth and accounts for 36 per cent of self-made billionaire wealth. Billionaire wealth in Asia could surpass that of the US within a decade.

Asia already represents one-third of UBS's wealth management business, he said.

"We are launching our new innovation centre in one of the most tech-savvy cities in the world, Singapore, at the heart of our fast-growing wealth management franchise in Asia Pacific," he said.

"Digitalisation and innovation are strategic priorities for UBS and we intend to meet and exceed client expectations by offering a seamless blend of both digital and personal channels to access our advice and capabilities," he said.

The centre is part of UBS's multi-year investment programme to improve its multi-channel offering.

Over the last year UBS has spent 1.3 billion Swiss francs (S$1.87 billion) for its wealth management global IT, he said.

For digital offerings alone, the bank invested "hundreds of millions Swiss francs on a yearly basis" to drive innovation for its wealth management clients, he said.

UBS is also rolling out its wealth management app for clients who want faster service.

The app leverages an internally built investment technology which can scan a client's portfolio, test it against critical risk factors and flag when it deviates from the client's investment strategy or when something goes off-track.

In Q1 2015, UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific invested assets were at 276 billion francs. The bank has over 1,200 client advisers in the region.

In Singapore, UBS employs over 2,000 staff for its wealth management, investment bank and global asset management businesses.