Spotlight on Expat Living – Dubai

Dubai – The Market


Dubai is one of the most popular markets we recruit into. It is an attractive location in which to begin your international financial services career – well known, well served by international airlines and a popular holiday location. Another attraction is its approach to regulation which, although becoming stricter, is ‘light-touch’ by UK standards.

Some IFAs are regulated by the Central Bank, others by the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) and many are regulated by the Economic Ministry. Regulation can appear to be rather confused. Indeed, many of our clients in Dubai insist on minimum qualification standards and financial services experience over and above those required by their regulator..

Dubai is an ambitious Emirate – it has made up for its lack of oil by building a city and creating a legal and social framework that is tax-efficient and designed to attract banking, legal, accountancy and other such industries. Being situated handily between the East and the West, Dubai is capitalising on its geographical location making it a very attractive location multi-national industries.

Dubai is packed with ex-pats of all nationalities and it has re-discovered its ‘Mojo’ after the economic shock of 2008. The economy grew 5% last year; airport cargo was up 144%; imports of food and vehicles rose 20%; the Dubai Mall was visited by 65m people in 2012 (making it the largest tourist attraction in the World); Emirates Airlines will be the largest in the world by 2020; house and apartment prices are heading back to pre-crash levels. It has also been the main economic beneficiary of the Arab Spring with people and cash flocking to it from its neighbours.

One of the side-effects of the regulatory situation is that there is a large number of poor quality financial advisers working with some “cowboy” operators in Dubai. Although this is a minority, the negative effect is felt by all in the industry there. It is therefore important that you take advice from before selecting an IFA firm to work for.

Many IFA organisations have a lead generation function (coordinators) in place to provide appointments to new and existing financial advisers. Advisers are expected to generate referrals from leads provided and to constantly source new clients/network and generate leads.

Dubai – Living and Working in the Sunshine

Dubai is hectic, exciting and very western in its approach. Although Muslim, this Emirate adopts a tolerant (indeed welcoming) approach to ‘Westerners’.

Dubai is safe and clean has a range of magnificent hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, tourist attractions; exceptional golf courses and, of course, a wonderful indoor ski-slope. The Metro system is world class, efficient and impeccably clean and, following the completion of some key roads and intersections, it has contributed greatly to getting the city moving again after the gridlock of previous years.

Accommodation is relatively expensive – although value is to be had by moving out of town. Cars and petrol are cheap – everybody drives in Dubai. Schooling is excellent with a wide choice of English curriculum schools available. The general ‘cost of living’ is probably on a par with outer London. There is a huge range of excellent international hotels, all with bars, and a plenty of night-clubs. Every interest, hobby and pastime is catered for in Dubai.

The city is constantly on the move. It is hard not to get swept along by the sheer energy of the place. If you are prepared to work hard, and enjoy playing hard, this place will certainly reward you.

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