Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

UBS Shutting Australia Wealth Unit Amid Competition From Brokers

UBS Group AG is shutting its Australian wealth-management unit amid competition from local brokerages.

The unit’s former head, Mike Chisholm, and some senior advisers are creating Crestone Wealth Management, a new firm that’s expected to be operational from October, Crestone said in a Tuesday statement. Most of the client advisers and senior managers from the UBS business have indicated their intention to join Crestone, it said.

The Swiss bank’s exit comes after a more than month-long review and as local firms expand in wealth management in a bid to tap the nation’s pension savers and rich investors. Shaw Stockbroking Ltd. plans to hire as many as 30 private-wealth advisers in coming months across Australia.

UBS’s global wealth-management business model “has become increasingly difficult to fully operate on a sustainable basis in the local market, which is dominated by a brokerage-based system,” Global Vice Chairman for Wealth Management Alain Robert said in a statement Tuesday.

The wealth industry is facing “increased regulatory and client requirements which have led to increasingly complex operational processes,” he said.

Crestone intends to use UBS’s economic and equities research, and its capital-markets deal flow, according to its statement. The firm said it’s also in talks with domestic banks about product offerings, without being more specific.

UBS reported a 54 percent jump in pretax profit at its wealth-management unit in the first quarter.

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