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UBS Acquires Wealthfront for $1.4 Billion in Its Push for Young Investors

The deal is a part of the Swiss bank's U.S. expansion strategy.

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On Wednesday, Swiss bank UBS announced that it had acquired digital-investment platform Wealthfront for $1.4 billion. The bank noted that this acquisition will aid its growth ambitions in the U.S., as well as among millennial and Gen Z investors.

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"Adding Wealthfront's capabilities and client base to our global investment ecosystem will significantly boost our ability to grow our business in the US," UBS Group CEO Ralph Hamers said in the announcement. "Wealthfront complements our core business in the US providing wealth management to high net worth and ultra high net worth investors through trusted relationships with financial advisors, and will enhance our long-term ambition to deliver a scalable, digital-led wealth management solution to affluent investors."

Related: Reasons Why You Might Want to Avoid a Robo-Advisor: Are You Using One?

Wealthfront, which raised around $200 million while private, uses technology to automate processes like financial guidance and investing. The digitally-focused platform currently manages $27 billion in assets among its nearly half a million clients. Existing clients shouldn't expect an immediate change to their experience using Wealthfront but will have UBS products and services available to them.

The announcement noted that the millennial and Gen Z client base is a "segment with significant domestic growth potential." UBS Americas president Tom Naratil has echoed these sentiments, saying the consumer groups "could also be a feeder for our business in the future because some of these people will be the high net worth and ultrahigh net worth clients of the future."

This deal is in line with UBS's growth strategy. In October, UBS announced its plans to expand offerings for clients in the Americas with up to $2 million to invest, with Hamers saying the bank intends to provide wealthy clients with a "seamless digital experience with remote human advice."

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