Funds Europe talks to Hubert Zeller of UBS about its Fund Management Services hub in Luxembourg and the need for tailor-made solutions.
In today’s challenging investment environment, having innovative solutions is not enough to attract the right investors. New niches and an ever more complex market require professionally designed investment vehicles based on deep expertise in several areas and an efficient market coverage capacity.
So says Hubert Zeller, Global Head of Business Development for UBS White Labelling Fund Solutions.
UBS has been active in Luxembourg for numerous decades and has had its European fund business hub in the Duchy for more than 30 years, including its third party fund services offering which was launched in 1997.
In recent years, the Swiss firm decided to reposition its Luxembourg fund services offering to reflect the growing appetite among international asset managers and institutional clients for tailored fund management solutions. “We now offer the complete fund value chain from designing a solution to its liquidation. It is really a one-stop-shop solution for the entire value proposition and for all asset classes,” says Zeller.
From a client domicile perspective, the market coverage includes today Central Europe, the Nordics, UK and Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore and also US clients looking for fund solutions for European investors.
The kind of services included covers Management Company and AIFM services, fund administration, transfer agency, custody/depositary, corporate secretarial services, fund registration services and regulatory reporting, all tailored for each client’s needs. Upon request, the robust value chain may also combine additional UBS expertise such as asset management, brokerage and securities lending, says Zeller.
More important than the list of business functions included in the offering, is UBS’s well-established experience for designing and structuring the right vehicle for innovative investment solutions in the requested markets and client segments, says Zeller. “By analysing client demands, our experts challenge several dimensions of a new fund concept to ensure that the package is tailor-made and will really support an active market penetration.”
So why Luxembourg? “UBS has had a long presence in Luxembourg and in the post-Brexit era, it is likely to take on greater significance as a cross-border centre of choice for our own funds business but also for third party clients looking for long-term partnership with our Group,” says Zeller.
A long-term perspective
The repositioning of UBS’s Fund Management Services hub also reflects the evolution of third party services and the relationship between fund managers and their service providers, says Zeller. “We want to partner with our clients on a long-term perspective. This means offering robust and sustainable solutions within a best-in-class governance by combining the key competences of each party within a tailor-made fund concept.”
Another feature of the UBS service model is its open architecture. UBS Luxembourg proposes a fronting business model, which is flexible enough to work with different services providers. “Our platform includes currently more than 140 third party asset managers, six central administrators and different custodian banks,” says Zeller.
“We have also a network of distributors cooperating with us. Generating a sustainable positive client experience out of such a large one-stop-shop platform requires flexibility and agility within a well-structured and efficient environment.”
UBS has also made a significant investment in technology to reflect the growing demand for digital services, says Zeller. “The digital trend is also strong within UBS and our Luxembourg office is transforming the client experience by revamping several functions along the fund value chain.
“Our online reporting tool and the investment made in our Management Company system are good examples of such digital age developments. As a result, our fund clients may get a more responsive professional reporting solution to answering challenges from an investment controller, fund director or any decision-maker of a fund concept.”
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