A new plan from UBS Wealth Management Americas is succeeding in getting more of the firm’s advisors and clients using formal financial plans.

UBS gave its force of about 7,000 U.S.-based advisors new compensation incentives to use financial plans with clients this year. The plan increases the pay their financial advisors receive when creating those plans, and has resulted in an uptick in their adoption so far this year.

When a UBS advisor creates a plan with a client where they charge $1,000 or more, the advisor is eligible for a 50% pay out rate on that plan, plus 15% of that revenue goes into an expense account to help them fund future business growth. Those incentives, which total 65%, are larger than the typical 30% to 46% regular grid rate payout, Jason Chandler, head of UBS’s Wealth Management Advisor Group, said at a briefing in the firm’s New York office this week.

So far this year, the reception to the change has been positive, according to UBS. The number of advisors charging for this kind of advice has climbed 259% year over year. Financial planning fees in 2013 so far total $2.43 million, up from $880,117 one year ago. UBS leaves it up to advisors how much to charge for creating the financial plans. The average fee charged per plan this year is $4,100.

The new incentives are aimed at helping both advisors and clients outline the goals they have in working with each other, and helping to inspire clients to keep on task when it comes to saving for their children’s college education, paying down their mortgage, saving for retirement and other goals.

“When clients pay for the financial plan, they’re actually much more invested in it, and they’re much more likely to listen to the advice and heed to the advice that’s in it as well,” Chandler said.

The inspiration for emphasizing financial planning came as UBS talked to clients of other firms, particularly registered investment advisors, Chandler admitted. Those clients said they prefer to have a definitive process and plan for their work with advisors.

“They are investing with an RIA because they like the process they’re going through, which is really code for a plan,” Chandler said.

The financial plans are designed to last one to two years before an advisor and client will refresh the plan, and therefore the fees, according to Chandler.

“My belief is that the industry will move a little bit more towards this pay for investment model,” Chandler said, similar to lawyers and CPAs, where clients pay a retainer for advice and then additional fees based on the services they use. That model could work particularly well with the high net worth and ultra high net worth client sets, he said.

“It’s all been positive,” Chandler said of advisors’ reactions to the financial planning incentives. “It puts them in a position to have a deeper conversation with clients.”

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