With everyone forced to abandon office and work-from-home due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, some businesses are coming up with unique ways to handle the change in operations and one of them is the UBS Group AG, which is experimenting with virtual reality headsets for its bankers to simulate the trading floor experience at home.
The investment bank is trying out Microsoft Corp.’s HoloLenses with its London traders. “If people really can’t come to the office, can we create a virtual presence?” Beatriz Martin, UBS’s U.K. head, says. “We are thinking about experimenting with the tools that are out there.”
HoloLens was launched by Microsoft in 2015 as a virtual gaming device, with headsets, which now is being used by companies as a collaborative tool.
Investment bankers and traders need high tech equipment to keep abreast of the data around the world and being away from the floor and offices for a long period of time is not feasible. Another way is to experiment with the digital technology available.
UBS has set up a group that will reimagine a setup that will turn the home office into a trading floor. It is considering setting up screens on traders’ desks with camera feeds from their co-workers to encourage collaboration.
On Wall Street, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays Plc all had to grapple with employees reporting sick due to the virus. JP Morgan had 16 people coming down with the virus, and the Barclays Bank sent staff home from its London trading floor this month after two employees tested positive.
Like all businesses, UBS is also proceeding with caution and has asked the employees to report to work voluntarily. Deutsche Bank told its New York staff this week that they were not required to return to the office until mid-2021 when it plans to open a new headquarters at Columbus Circle, reports the Financial Times.
BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink sees a future where employees may never reach their pre-pandemic numbers in the office. He said he expected only two-thirds of the fund manager’s staff to return to the office in the long term. “I don’t believe BlackRock will ever be 100 percent back in the office.”
UBS has set up a working group focused on “reimagining the trading floor”, which has also considered setting up screens on traders’ desks with camera feeds from their co-workers to encourage collaboration.
Four years ago Citigroup was one of the first banks to develop an augmented reality setup using HoloLens headsets combined with 3D holograms and real-time financial data. The aim was to beam out huge data graphics into their clients’ offices. But the experiment never took off as it was considered to be limiting in terms of display and processing power.
UBS is the first major global financial institution to recommend sustainable over traditional solutions for private clients investing globally
Managing approximately half a trillion US dollars in core sustainable assets, this reinforces UBS’s nearly 25-year track-record in sustainable investing across all its business divisions.
UBS is the world’s leading wealth manager and sustainable investment manager, managing approximately half a trillion US dollars in core sustainable assets,. It recently announced that sustainable investments are now the firm’s preferred solution for private clients investing globally.
UBS believes a 100% sustainable portfolio can deliver similar or potentially higher returns compared to traditional investment portfolios and offer strong diversification for clients investing globally. “The shift in preferences toward sustainable products and services is only just beginning,” said Iqbal Khan, Co-President of UBS Global Wealth Management. “We believe sustainable investments will prove to be one of the most exciting and durable opportunities for private clients in the years and decades ahead.”
Investment in sustainable development is the need of the hour with climate change playing havoc with the weather patterns and predictions of more natural and man-made calamities disturbing the ecosystem. Climate scientists predict more pandemics, wildfires, storms and hurricanes in the years to come. Businesses need to pivot to sustainable investments in green tech and solutions for a bright economic future.
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