UBS opens a Wealth unit in Tel Aviv

Swiss bank UBS has opened a wealth management unit at its branch in the Israeli capital Tel Aviv, aiming to offer domestic and international asset management from the same point.

UBS chairman Kasper Villiger said creating wealth in the present global economic environment is difficult, but that Israel, along with China, Hong Kong, Brazil and Russia, is an “important future growth engine” for UBS AG.

UBS Wealth Management Israel CEO Kobi Faigenbaum told local paper Globes: “It turns out that customers want their banker nearby, regardless of technological developments. UBS, which identified Israel as an important market, decided to deepen its operations in Israel.”

UBS does not manage mutual funds but Faigenbaum also noted that management fees at Israeli mutual funds are far higher than at their foreign counterparts.

UBS Israel & Africa head Patrick Müller said the bank had not acquired a local business because “there is no company or investment house in the market that suited the concept that we want to bring to Israel. We don’t rule it out, but it’s not on the agenda at this time.”

The bank has conducted an in-depth study which ranks Israel as one of the top three among six markets in terms of personal wealth growth. Israel sits alongside Brazil and Russia, and ahead of Mexico, Turkey, and “one of the major Gulf countries”.

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