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Wealth Management for Expats in the United Arab Emirates

Submitted: December 2013

Generally speaking, you should look for a wealth manager if you think you need help with financial planning. A financial institution is prone to offer you more sophisticated services as you get wealthier. These services range from traditional lending or investment management to inheritance tax planning or asset protection.

Feel free to consider a fee-based pricing structure, rather than a commission-based one. If you are really wealthy, the former may well land you with much better returns.

The UAE is increasingly becoming a regional offshore financial centre, as the Government is looking forward to diversifying the economy away from oil revenues. Consequently, there is a growing wealth management industry in the UAE, and it is largely possible to find wealth management professionals that speak your native language.

It’s best not to overestimate the UAE financial sector though. In fact, the UAE still does not have the same sophisticated financial markets as Western countries. As a result, it’s still relevant to rely on non-UAE private banking services.

Issues for expatriates

Financial planning complexity increases dramatically when you become an expatriate, as additional cross-border issues must be taken into account. These include, but are not limited to:

It is essential to check if your wealth manager is qualified enough to deal with your specific cross-border issues. In particular, it is very important to assess your UAE-specific needs, as foreign small private banks may not have the adequate skills to address them.

In addition, departing from your home country may be subject to some paperwork there (e.g. tax compliance, letting your insurer know that you leave, switching to a non-resident bank account, etc.). A wealth manager in your home country is more likely to be qualified to help you with this.

In all cases, be wary of:

 

 




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