Wealthy families are migrating to the U.S. South and UBS is following them

Logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich
The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland October 25, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - UBS (UBSG.S) is reshuffling its U.S. wealth leadership to focus on southern states that are crucial to the division's growth as affluent families increasingly migrate to Florida and Texas, the company said on Thursday.

The new structure for the world's largest wealth manager signals a big push into the southern United States alongside competitors such as Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, which has boosted its presence in Florida.

"We’ve seen our clients do well in the last decade in terms of their investment outcomes," said Jason Chandler, head of UBS wealth management in the United States. High net worth families are taking advantage of greater flexibility to live and work in different locations, he said.

UBS promoted John Mathews, who leads private wealth management, and Jennifer Povlitz, who runs its western division for wealth, to oversee 10 markets apiece across the United States, according to a company memo. The promotions, alongside a raft of other staff changes, will take effect at the start of next year and are intended to simplify management and decision-making, particularly in growth regions where wealthy people are relocating.

Ultra-high net worth families are moving from northern to southern states and are settling in multiple locations, and some financial advisers have followed suit by splitting their time across multiple offices, UBS said.

The bank's top markets for wealth management include Atlanta, Colorado, Florida and Texas, alongside traditional hubs in the Northeast like New York and Boston. "Wealthy clients are getting wealthier," and they are also "getting younger and more diverse," Chandler said.

UBS will streamline the wealth structure into 20 markets from 34. In Manhattan, it will merge the markets under one executive versus three market heads previously.

Reporting by Lananh Nguyen in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis

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Lananh Nguyen is the U.S. finance editor at Reuters in New York, leading coverage of U.S. banks. She joined Reuters in 2022 after reporting on Wall Street at The New York Times. Lananh spent more than a decade at Bloomberg News in New York and London, where she wrote extensively about banking and financial markets, and she previously worked at Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal. Lananh holds a B.A. in political science from Tufts University and an M.Sc. in finance and economic policy from the University of London.