Wall Street is gaping at UBS as the Swiss bank promises to build out its wirehouse unit rather than sell it off. Advisors may find its growth targets useful in their own practices.
The most important aspect of UBS's new plans is the fact that it is setting measurable goals for itself.
The company wants to capture an annual 2% to 4% in new AUM over the next four years, generate about 0.76% of AUM in annual commissions and fees, and reap maybe 30% to 40% in profit.
To more nimble advisory firms, these numbers seem extremely unambitious.
But if that's what one of the giants is targeting for the U.S. market, then is competitors either have a big opportunity to run rings around the wirehouse, or else overall growth in the U.S. market is slowing fast.
A lot of the previously unadvised wealth in this country has already been captured. The question is how fast new wealth is being created and where it is.
Otherwise, UBS and everyone else are simply competing to pull clients away from each other. That's an opportunity in itself for advisors, but it requires slightly different prospecting tactics -- and the end result is a zero sum game.
(Besides, in a low-growth world, the giants may have an advantage in terms of marketing muscle.)
So what are your growth targets for 2012 through 2016? The answer's not as important as thinking about the question.