UBS Group AG is setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars of its own money to invest in fintech companies, joining peers in financing startups that are upending traditional banking.
The Swiss wealth manager is planning a corporate venture capital fund to make investments between $10 million and $20 million in dozens of companies, according to a person familiar with the matter. UBS plans to hold the stakes for at least five years, the person said, asking for anonymity because details haven’t been finalized.
A UBS spokeswoman confirmed the bank is starting such a fund, while declining to comment on specifics.
The venture fund comes just months after UBS named ING Groep NV’s Ralph Hamers, an outspoken champion of digital banking, to succeed Sergio Ermotti as chief executive officer from October. While wealth management — UBS’s biggest business — is traditionally a high-touch operation, with clients valuing personal contact, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a shift toward digital services.
“UBS wants to further engage with and support fintech firms,” said Mike Dargan, UBS’s Global Head Group Technology. “The new venture investment portfolio is a next step to accelerate our innovation and digitization efforts.”