Expat investors in Middle East now have financial advisory aggregator website

Published:  28 Mar at 6 PM
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For the first time, would-be expat investors in the Middle East will be able to check out their IFAs via an online financial advisory aggregator site.

UAE-based communications, consultancy and research agency Insight Discovery is the brains behind the website, with its aim to discourage cold-calling malpractice as well as financial scammers in general. Found at www.whichfinancialadvisor.com, the site is the first of its type in the Gulf States. Only financial advisory companies which have been pre-approved by the two major UAE regulatory bodies, the Security and Commodities Authority and the Insurance Authority, will be listed on the site.

A similar site listing wealth managers regulated by the UAE Central Bank, the DFSA and the ADGM is in the development stage and is expected to be launched in the near future, although its relevance is to be limited to those having over $500,000 to invest. The original site is committed to not listing firms still actively using the cold-calling strategy made infamous by expat IFA scammers both in the UAE and across the entire spectrum of expatriate communities worldwide. The development and launch of the website comes as a reaction to a recent survey in which a huge number of respondents expressed their feelings about the lack of trustworthy, quality financial advice available to expatriates in the UAE. Put basically, the survey identified the hard fact that investors in the entire region need far more than they’re getting from the present crop of resident expat IFAs.

Many respondents called for tougher stances by regulators, especially in the high number of instances of deliberate fraud, scams and losses by investors who’d unknowingly used unregistered advisors. In order to unravel the mysteries of the terminology used by IFAs as well as making the entire subject of investment easier to understand, the website will also feature articles, blogs, tips on how to save money, pensions and retirement advice and much more. Whilst the initiative is more than welcome, it sadly comes too late to help those who’ve already fallen foul of the explosion in scams and mis-selling by illegal, unqualified IFAs over the past decade. It also does nothing to expose and condemn the vast profits made by the offshore-based multinational insurers facilitating the IFAs’ illegalities.
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