Skip to main content

Best Financial Advisors in Dubai & the UAE (2024)

Pedro Braz| Updated January 3rd, 2024

Whether you’re an individual or a business entity, financial advisors can provide the guidance you need to manage and optimise your investments, savings, and overall financial health. 

In this article, we’ll help you review and compare the leading financial advisors available in Dubai and the UAE, as well as uncover the untold pros and cons of the industry.

What are Financial Advisors?

Financial advisors are professionals who provide financial services to their clients based on their financial circumstances and future objectives. They offer advice on various financial issues, including investments, insurance, pensions, taxes, estate planning, and retirement.

Choosing a Financial Advisor in Dubai & UAE

When looking for a financial advisor in Dubai or the UAE, you need to consider several factors:

  1. Credentials: Make sure the advisor is certified by relevant bodies. In the UAE, financial advisors should be regulated by one or more regulators, the most prevalent being the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
  2. Services: Determine what services the advisor offers. Some focus on investment advice, while others offer comprehensive financial planning services, including tax, estate, and retirement planning.
  3. Fees: Understand how the financial advisor charges for their services. They could charge a flat fee, an hourly rate, or a percentage of assets under management. Always ask for full disclosure of their fee structure.
  4. Reputation: Research the reputation of the advisor or the firm they work for. Read online reviews, ask for client references, and check if they have any disciplinary history.

Best Financial Advisors in Dubai & the UAE

We’ve compiled a list of the advisors we believe take the top spot. Here’s a quick list of the best UAE financial advisors after digging through the different services and their customer reviews online:

Sarwa

Best digital financial advisor (robo-advisor). It has the lowest minimum deposit required ($5). Use the referral code GHEF9ED9 to get a $50 bonus when you invest at least 2,500 USD.

deVere Group

Biggest financial advisor in assets under management. Low online customer reviews.

Holborn Assets

Best financial advisor given the best online customer reviews and fee transparency.

Mondial

Best online customer reviews.

Finsbury Associates

Wealth management firm based in Dubai.

AES International

Financial consultancy firm based in Dubai.

Comparison of Financial Advisors in Dubai & the UAE

Below is a table comparing several financial advisors and robo-advisors in the UAE based on various factors, such as the regulators, the types of services they offer, and their reviews.

Advisor Sarwa deVere Group Holborn Assets Mondial Finsbury Associates AES International
Minimum Investment $5 Information not publicly available £100k+ Information not publicly available $1,000,000 (or lower, with regular contributions) $200,000
Regulated by Local Authorities Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Assets Under Management (AUM) Information not publicly available $+10 billion $2billion $1billion+ $135mn+ Information not publicly available
Fees From 0.85% (below $50,000) to 0.50% (above $100,000) Information not publicly available Vary from product to product. Fees breakdown here. Information not publicly available Information not publicly available Information not publicly available
Online Reviews (Trustpilot) 2.5/5.0 (40+ reviews) 2.0/5.0 (130+ reviews) 4.7/5.0 (2000+ reviews) 4.9/5.0 (700+ reviews) Not available Not available

Be aware that customer reviews are bad for most of the services compared, which is typical in the financial services industry. We recommend you dig deeper to find out more about the companies mentioned here. 

Please note that not all information is publicly available for these firms, so some fields have been marked accordingly. It’s always best to contact each firm directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Red Flags and Things to Avoid When Choosing a Financial Advisor

Not all advisors have your best interests at heart. Here are some red flags and practices to avoid when choosing a financial advisor in Dubai and the UAE.

  • Frequent Platform Switching: If your advisor trades excessively in your account (buys and sells very often), it’s time to be cautious. This practice, known as ‘churning,’ often serves to generate commission for the advisor, not benefit you. If you suspect your advisor is engaging in churning, consider seeking a second opinion and possibly shifting your investments to another advisor.
  • Structured Investment Products (Structured Notes): These are complex investment vehicles that can carry higher risks than they initially appear to. While sometimes they can provide good returns, more often, they underperform. If your portfolio includes structured notes, ask your advisor about their price. If you can sell them without incurring a substantial loss, consider doing so.
  • Cross-Selling Other Products: Be wary of financial advisors who consistently push other products, such as life insurance or complicated offshore savings and investment schemes. While these products are suitable for some clients, advisors may promote them due to the large commissions they can earn. Ensure that any product recommended to you aligns with your specific financial goals and risk tolerance.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Always watch for potential conflicts of interest. Some advisors might prioritize their interests over yours, promoting products with high entry and exit fees due to the significant commissions they stand to earn. This practice could result in unsuitable investments not aligning with your financial objectives.
  • Overemphasis on Actively Managed Funds: If an advisor insists that ETFs underperform the market and actively managed funds always outperform, it could be a red flag. While actively managed funds can sometimes outperform, they also come with higher fees, and the majority do not consistently beat the market. Good advisors recognize that a blend of investments, including ETFs and actively managed funds, often serves the client’s best interest, depending on their financial goals and risk tolerance.

Robo-Advisors vs Financial Advisors

The rise of technology has created an alternative to traditional financial advisors – robo-advisors. Here, we will briefly explore the comparison between these two options in the UAE.

Financial Advisors

Financial advisors are professionals offering personalized advice on financial matters, including savings, investments, and retirement planning. They are particularly useful for complex financial situations, where face-to-face interactions and personalized service can make a significant difference.

Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors, on the other hand, use algorithms to manage investments. With minimal human intervention, they offer a straightforward and often more cost-effective way to manage portfolios.

Two leading robo-advisors in the UAE are Sarwa and StashAway. Sarwa combines automated investing with access to human advisors, offering a balanced approach. StashAway, meanwhile, uses a data-driven approach to personalize your investment strategy based on your financial goals and risk preferences.

Key Differences

While both types of advisors aim to help you grow your wealth, they cater to different needs. A financial advisor might be best if you prefer a more hands-on, personalized approach. However, if you’re comfortable with a more automated, cost-effective method, consider a robo-advisor.

Another Alternative to a Financial Advisor in the UAE: Do-it-yourself investing in ETFs

While professional advice from financial advisors can be beneficial, another popular path to investment involves direct investment in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). This method could prove fruitful for those looking for a more hands-on approach to their financial journey while saving on fees.

ETFs are investment funds traded on stock exchanges, much like individual stocks. They’re designed to track the performance of a specific index, sector, commodity, or asset. For investors in Dubai and the UAE, investing in ETFs can provide a straightforward way to diversify their portfolios across various sectors and geographic regions.

  1. Opening an account with reputable brokers, such as Interactive Brokers, or any other firms of your choice, can be a strategic first step.
  2. Once you’ve set up an account, allocate some funds into ETFs. Feel free to check our article about How to invest in the S&P 500 from the UAE. This process will allow you to test the waters and better understand market risks and your risk tolerance. Remember, investing should be seen as a long-term game, and consistency is paramount. 
  3. Engaging with various resources, such as financial forums, articles, and news, can provide additional insights and understanding. Networking with other investors can also yield diverse perspectives. However, it’s essential to discern valuable information from noise and to make decisions based on reasoned analysis, not hearsay.

Conclusion

Hope we helped you decide which financial adviser to choose. We recommend you consult the websites mentioned above, dig through the information presented, and make your own decision.

If you want to try it out and adjust over time, Sarwa could be a good option: their low minimum deposit can help you test the waters before deciding to invest a larger amount.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any feedback about the article or the companies mentioned. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

Happy investing!

Pedro Braz
Co-Founder & Growth Manager

Pedro is passionate about finance, marketing, and technology. He is a growth manager at several online projects and a former digital marketer for a fintech company.

linkedin