OPEN Finance firm profile: UBS

Continuing our series of firm profiles, OPEN Finance this month features UBS and their Pride employee network. Learn more about the company’s recent successes, its growing allies population, and how they’ve stayed at the forefront of wealth management for LGBT clients.

How has OPEN Finance helped UBS? Although UBS maintains a robust LGBTA network within the organization and views itself as a progressive leader in maintaining a supportive workplace for our LGBTA employees, the firm recognizes the immense value in collaborating with, and learning from, our peer firms. One of the most valuable things UBS gets from participating in OPEN Finance is learning about LGBTA best practices and policies at other Wall Street firms to ensure we stay at the forefront of inclusive workplace developments.

For example, the opportunity to share strategies on implementing tax equalization for LGBTA employees made a material difference in getting our firm to implement that policy several years ago. Similarly, through the shared experiences of other OPEN Finance firms, we were able to successfully articulate the financial burden of DOMA to our senior leadership, which ultimately resulted in UBS signing on to the Windsor Amicus Brief. OPEN Finance has also played a role in creating rewarding programming for our ERG – the networking and volunteer opportunities OPEN Finance regularly offers means we are able to promote that programming to our ERG members.

Who are the current chairs of UBS’s employee resource group? Our co-chairs are Lisa Snyder, a Wealth Management Consultant based in Los Angeles, and Ron Snitker, a Director of Marketing in our Corporate Solutions & Retirement Services department, based in Nashville, TN. Our Executive Leadership team is rounded out with our COO, Mike Sullivan, who is a former co-chair of OPEN Finance and a Director in our IT Risk group at UBS.

Who are the current UBS representatives for OPEN Finance? Our current OPEN Finance reps are Mike Sullivan, Matthew Sullivan, an officer in our Group Operations team, and Matt Koehler, Executive Director, Head of Research Content & Distribution in UBS’s Investment Bank Research group and co-chair of OPEN Finance. In addition, Matt Koehler serves on the Business Advisory Board of PFLAG.

What have been the biggest achievements for UBS’s employee resource group? We have had a number of external success stories: 1. Signing the Windsor Amicus brief, in support of the repeal of DOMA. 2. Tax equalization of same-sex partner benefits (Pre-DOMA being overturned). 3. Consistently scoring 100% on the HRC CEI.

We have also had a number of internal success stories: 1. The expansion of membership in our Straight Ally network: more than half of the membership is made up of Allies. 2. Provided thought leadership in development of the LGBT client survey which resulted in the 2013 publication entitled “UBS Investor Watch Special Edition: The LGBT Investor” which identified trends and challenges to the LGBT investor. The results were also integrated in the “Financial Planning for Couples” report in 2014. 3. Creation of nationwide training for Financial Advisors to develop and implement a world class client experience for LGBT individuals.

Finally, what are UBS’s ERG’s biggest focus going forward? Leveraging our individual and corporate financial planning products and services to assist LGBT individuals. It is exciting to work at a firm which recognizes the unique financial planning challenges LGBTs can face, and wants to ensure those specific needs are understood and met.

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