The END GAME, Rip Off Savings Plans Adeiu!

I remember talking to friends and colleagues about it being harder to become a real estate agent than a UAE financial advisor. Blank stares, open mouths, bewilderment stared back at me. Although it reflected the IFA market, it also included the banks

There is a minority of advisors in the UAE who are dedicated and ethical, however they are overshadowed by a lot of unregulated, unqualified people even qualified advisors that sell investment products and savings structures, either through a regulated company, unregulated company or through a bank. They all however had one thing in common. Insurance Backed Savings Plans or Investment Plan that served the institution and advisor and not the client.

Over the last few months we have seen and heard very clear messages coming from the regulagors.

First, we had SCA regulating funds, companies, demanding education, qualifications and annual CPD targets.

Then we had the Insurance Authorities starting with Circular 33, and after much consultation with the various stakeholders they announced Circular 12. The end of consultation was May 11 with an intended rapid introduction of the new laws. It was regulations, qualifications, fees and sanctions.

Thirdly we had the Central Bank on May 11 throw their hat into the ring. They did not wait for the response of the IA (bearing in mind that the Central Bank does not regulate the insurance side), however they do regulate the banks.

The message has been repeated time and again from all regulatory authorities.

“The responses provided to the Consumer Protection Department at the Central Bank in relation to these ongoing complaints were not satisfactory”

The words being quoted “customer profiling”, “suitability of products”, “transparency” “grievances redressal mechanism (handing complaints)”. “qualifications”

Very similar words from the IA and Sca.

Then you hear the voices of the product providers, banks and IFA’s, we welcome those changes.

Well why did it take the IA, SCA and the Central Bank to step in and say STOP! We have had enough.

The blame lies on the industry, the companies and the advisors, despite what was happening in other jurisdictions and we knew why these changes were happening they still continued making hay while the sun shone even though the clients were suffering. The providers were also happy to deal with unlicensed companies, with products that fail to deliver what is promised. Products that they knew benefited themselves and the sales people more than the clients. Fee structures that were so opaque very few people could understand them let alone clients. These stakeholders had little moral compass to make a stand and either change or demand change.

Yet there were other individuals and companies that did make a stand, did change and become more client focused. They should be applauded and continue to flourish.

The message is now clear, The Game is Over.

For unlicensed companies, just close shop and move on.

For individual IFA’s go to work for a regulated company, become regulated, registered, do the exams, do your CPD and take this Holistic view you keep talking about, bring clients products and fees that are designed for the client. If you are unable to survive in this new environment, then move on.

For companies and banks, train up your staff, do wealth management with the customer first. Do what you should be doing “Wealth Management” not selling overpriced, inflexible savings plans,

The clients were not there to service you, you were there to service the clients. The clients need help to save and plan, do that, help them.

To those who said you can’t survive on the new fee structure, this may be so, but in the last century when I worked for an investment house, our fee structure for the clients worked out at 1% p.a. and it was success. For the clients, for the company and for the employee. It was a win win solution.

I and many other professionals look forward to the new future.

Have a great day.


Volatility Survival Techniques 101

I have noticed the wild swings in the market and it’s still persistent since mid-August. I think this is the best time to review how we can survive volatility in World Markets.  Well, the first rule of thumb we need to remember in any market is to fix our mindset and to never react to a sell off.

Let me explain? I know that after the beating we’ve experienced in the last three months – it may sound a little late with 20/20 hindsight. However, we need to accept the fact that volativility is always there. Most of us would resort to a sell mode, we go into panic mode because the market is having a bad day and we want to save our hard earned money – but it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire – you’re just making things worse.

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Major Announcement For Property Owners That Are Not Yet Registered With The Land Department

This article has been take from Arabian June 30 deadline for buyers

Dubai property owners will be penalised if they fail to meet a new deadline for buyers to register sales.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has set a deadline of June 30 for property owners to register newly sold units in the emirate, Emirates 247 reported on Thursday.

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Controlling Debt in the UAE – Launching of a New Credit Bureau

Debt is considered a real problem for many people. It is a simple fact that once you’re in debt it will be very hard to get out of it. In the UAE people usually have multiple credit cards, and often have debts in various banks. Despite Central Bank regulations to the contrary they are taking loans to cover for the shortfall in meeting minimum deposit requirements for mortgages. Although this was common in the past and still attempted now, the end result is the same inability to service debt, family problems and work problems. Not to mention that it could lead to several court cases and that could leave a reputational issues and problems when applying for new jobs.

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Looking At The Trend – Why You Need To Secure Your Future

I get bored at weekends and start looking at numbers and I always get my electronic calculator out…

So here is this week’s stat.

We know that the US debt is 100% of the GDP.

So are many other countries.

The good news, the US has for the first time since 2008 had the annual budget reduced from over 1 trillion (Dr. Evil would love that number) to a mere 680 billion USD.

This is the lowest since 2008 and the trend is looking good, the deficit will drop from 4% of GDP to less than 3%.

Thanks to the rise in taxation to 2,8 trillion, this is an increase of 324 billion versus 2012 and the sequester forcing cuts in spending. Total outstanding debt is now a mere 17.5 trillion.

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The Importance Of Customer’s Service In Your Business

If you’re living in the UAE, then you are aware of the countless opportunities to choose from. You can establish a business based upon your expertise or you can choose a certain area that you are passionate about and make that your business. However, owning a business is not just about rendering a service or launching a product and selling it. You need to understand that there is a long way to go from there. To be a successful company in the UAE you have to pay extra attention to details.

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DHA New Mandate: Health Insurance for All Dubai’s Residents

Official estimates reveal that only 40-50% of Dubai’s residents have a health insurance policy. For this reason, the Dubai Health Authority is now obligating companies with at least 1,000 or more employees to provide their staff with health insurance on or before the end of October 2014. Companies with only 100-999 employees must comply with the new mandate until the end of July 2014, while smaller businesses with 99 employees and below will have until June 2016.

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The New Dubai Rental Dispute Settlement Center

A new decree has been issued by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Decree 26 of 2013 which will pave the way for the formation of the Dubai Rental Dispute Settlement Center or commonly known as just “the Center.”

This new decree is aimed to put together a specialized judicial system that will quickly and simply deal with rental disputes. In my opinion, this is a good way of settling landlord-tenant disputes. In fact, the Center will be responsible in providing the final resolution to any rental dispute. The chairman for the Center will be His Excellency Judge Abdul Qader Mousa including lawyers and administrative staff.

The Center will have a “Reconciliation Department” who will attempt to lawfully settle rental disputes within the 15 day-period from the date when the parties’ first appeared before the Reconciliation Department.

rental dispute

What if a certain dispute is not resolve by the Reconciliation Department?

In case, the reconciliation is not successful, the case will then be transferred to the First Instance Department, which will consist of committees with a chairman and two members which should competent in law and real estate and must have sufficient experience in these types of cases. Therefore, the First Instance Department shall decide a rental dispute within 30 days from the date the case was referred to the department.

However, the decision of the First Instance Department may be appealed to the Appeal Department as long as the total amount of the rental dispute is equal to or more than AED100,000. Any other disputes which are less than AED100,000 cannot be appealed except for some specific circumstances. Although an appeal must be files within 15 days from the day the First Department’s decision has been executed. If there’s no appeal then the final decision shall be executed by the Execution Department which is affiliated with the Center.

How much would they charge the parties (landlord and tenant)?

The charges and costs of the Center shall be determined by the Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Dubai. Without any resolution from the chairman, the charges and costs of the Rent Committee of the Dubai Municipality shall apply.

In addition, the Center will now be replacing the Rent Committee and it will be the government body that will hear and decide all rental disputes. So, all employees at the Rent Committee shall now be transferred the Land Department of Dubai.

My Final Thoughts:

The number of rental dispute cases in Dubai is rising every day, and to better serve both the parties (landlords and tenants), the creation of a new government body like the Center is always a good thing. This will speed up the legal process and it will also prove to the world that the government of Dubai will always protect the rights of the tenants, especially expats and foreign investors.

Diabetes – A Lifestyle Disease Not Only In The GCC

According to medical experts, there are approximately 382 million people in the world are now living with diabetes. The vast majority of these individuals have type-2 diabetes, which can be caused by lack of exercise and obesity. The disease is spreading among developing countries, especially those who adopt urban and western lifestyles. So far, the latest record is 371 million cases worldwide, and this data was confirmed by the International Diabetes Federation. It is estimated that in 2035, the number of cases will go up by 55% which would amount to 592 million cases.

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