NEW YORK - UBS Asset Management Inc., New York, is trying to increase its presence in the U.S. market by acquiring new products and expanding its marketing efforts to U.S. institutions.
So far, UBSAM has not made as deep a dent in the U.S. institutional market as it would like, said John Hock, the firm's head of relationship services. The firm manages $35 billion in assets, of which approximately half come from non-U.S. clients, said Mr. Hock. UBSAM manages a large component of assets for foreign central banks, noted Thomas Messmore, president and chief executive officer.
The U.S. firm, a subsidiary of Union Bank of Switzerland, Zurich, is now expanding its domestic marketing operations and making more coordinated cross-selling efforts with the UBSAM offices overseas in Tokyo, London, Singapore and Zurich, said Mr. Hock. As an example, he noted UBSAM recently was marketing to a prospective client who has operations in three different countries; the effort involved personnel from New York and two other UBSAM offices.
Last year, UBSAM expanded its marketing and client service teams and reorganized them across client segments, creating separate teams to market to public funds, corporate plans and other types of institutions.
The firm is close to hiring a head of consultant sales and is adding a junior sales representative in the public fund team, said Mr. Hock. The consultant sales head will be a senior sales representative responsible for working with the large consulting firms around the country and building a team dedicated to responding to requests for proposals. UBSAM is developing a computer system for responding to RFPs, and the firm expects to eventually respond to one every week, said Mr. Hock.
UBSAM wants to become a "new paradigm" manager, part of the trend toward large, multiasset investment managers, said Mr. Messmore. The firm has good product diversification, but it also is adding products through acquisitions. Last year, it bought Resource Investments Inc., a West Lebanon, N.H., timber manager. Also during the past year, it hired a group of staffers from Spare, Kaplan, Bischel & Associates in San Francisco to start a value equities group in that city.
UBSAM is looking to make other acquisitions, as well, said Mr. Messmore. He noted the firm would like to have a private equity product, but the length of the track record required to attract clients is long, so buying is better than building the product internally. Commodities is another gap in the product line, but he said that is further down on the list. Also, UBSAM has no meaningful presence in the 401(k) business and would like to have one, he said.,aw0>
Earlier this month, UBSAM launched three mutual funds for its private banking clientele: a value fund run by the San Francisco team; a fixed-income fund, run by Dan Roberts, a managing director and UBSAM's head of fixed income; and an international equity fund run by the London office.
A tax-free fund investing in municipals is expected to roll out this year; the managers for that fund likely will be acquired through a firm purchase or team liftout.