Financial Advisers come in many forms. A good financial planner will help you select the right financial products for your circumstances and avoid expensive mistakes. However, you should be careful when selecting a Financial Adviser. After all, this person is to be your financial guide. By following these 5 steps, you will avoid many of the common mistakes expats make on arrival in the UAE.
Friends and family recommend financial advisers to one another. Regardless of how you came into contact with the adviser, you should undertake some research. Just because your friend thinks the adviser is good, does not mean they will be suitable for you.
The internet is a wonderful source of information, Google the name of the adviser. Check out the adviser’s LinkedIn and FaceBook profiles as well as any other references you see online. It is extremely unusual for a financial planner not to be present on both platforms but not unheard of.
So what are you looking for? A stable employment record, experience in the industry, relevant qualifications and statements from satisfied customers. You should remember these profiles were all written by the person you are meeting, so ask for proof of qualifications.
Financial advisers should be a member of a professional body. Check websites of industry organisations which they claim membership to check their credentials independently. For example, UK organisations, Chartered Insurance Institute (C.I.I.) and Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (C.I.S.I.) both work with the local regulators.
Do they have other qualifications which may be useful? For example, are they qualified as an accountant or other professional as well as having financial planning qualifications? If they attended university, what degree do they hold? Is it relevant to being a financial adviser?
The next step is to consider the firm that the adviser is working for. The U.A.E is less tightly regulated than some other parts of the world. Consequently, unlicensed financial advisers seek out unwary expatriates.
You must receive advice from licensed organisations. Do not fall for the line that they are regulated in the UK or wherever. The jurisdiction of the UK regulator stops at Dover and they will not be interested in your complaint about advice received in U.A.E.
The only licenses which are acceptable at the time of writing are from Insurance Authority (IA) and Securities & Commodities Authority (S.C.A.) These are the only licensing bodies for financial planners in U.A.E. A trade or commercial license is not the same thing and is required by every business operating in U.A.E.
You can check the regulator’s websites for corroboration of any claims to licenses. For example, the company I work for, AES Middle East Insurance Broker LLC, is regulated by the Insurance Authority and holds license # 189.
Assuming everything checks out, you should meet the financial adviser. The first time you meet a prospective adviser you should treat this as a job interview. Think of some general questions to start the conversation. What are the important qualities you want in a financial planner? Your aim is to receive high-quality financial planning advice from a reputable and knowledgeable source. Use the data you have gained online to think of a few questions.
You are not seeking to test their knowledge of financial services. Your questions should be about their: career path; experience; where they see themselves in the long term; reasons for coming to Dubai; reasons for moving from their last few employment positions.
In terms of advice: areas of specialism; how your needs outside of their specialist subjects are met; why they think they can help you; their fee structure; how many clients they look after; a description of their typical client. This is not an exhaustive list and no doubt you will have some other questions of your own.
You should trust your financial planner however you should not give your trust too freely or quickly. Make sure all recommendations are in writing. Your adviser should explain all relevant aspects of the product or service to you in clear language. This is especially important if you are working with your adviser in a second language. A good test is to see if you can explain what you are doing and why to someone you know. If you can communicate it clearly, you probably have a good understanding of what you are doing and why.
A financial adviser is just that, an adviser, you do not have to do what they recommend. You should always understand the recommendations and ask lots of questions.
Please contact us for more information on appointing financial advisers in Dubai.