UBS scraps online plans for mass affluent

UBS scraps online plans for mass affluent

UBS has revised plans to develop an online business platform for affluent European consumers in favour of an approach based on the delivery of personal advisory services.

News of the change of direction was buried in the Swiss bank's third quarter trading statement. It follows the recent acquistion of PaineWebber of the US, which, says UBS, "provides...a unique opportunity to extend PaineWebber's highly successful US adviser-centric business model to the European onshore high net worth and affluent private clients market."

The bank says that expansion plans for its multi-lingual, multi-currency real-time e-services platform were put on hold in the third-quarter, reducing operating expenses by CHF68 million, or 28% compared to the previous quarter. Customer service centres planned for Edinburgh and Maastricht have also been scrapped, with the loss of 140 jobs in total.

Under the revised plan, the non-US business of UBS Warburg Private Clients will be merged with the e-services group under a single management. UBS says the back-end technologies developed so far will be integrated with PaineWebber's front-end customer facing software.

Seperately, UBS last week announced plans for an electronic bill presentment and payment service for business clients developed in collaboration with PayNet and Europay. The technology will be made available to consumers next year, the bank reports.

In September, the bank became one of the first in the world to offer stock market transactions via WAP-based mobile phones.

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