Not every financial adviser in the UAE will have the skills and experience that suit you.
Some are experts in retirement, others specialise in investments or prefer to advise about car, travel and business insurance.
The trick is quickly matching the right adviser to the financial service you want to know about - and here’s how to do that in five easy steps.
What do you need to know?
Take some time to think about the financial advice you need and if you really need to pay a financial adviser.
Plenty of free help is available online, but make sure you consult a reputable source like the UK’s official government web site, MoneySavingExpat.com or Pensions Wise.
Who can help?
If you have looked up your query online and still feel the need to take advice, then look for one with the right qualifications.
If you want mortgage advice, then look for CeMap; general advisers will have a qualification from Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) or the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
Retirement experts will have SOLLA (Society of Later Life Advisers) or STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Planners) after their name.
Insurance specialists will have a British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) membership.
Ask financial advisers what services they offer and if they have other clients like you.
Independent or tied?
Financial advisers in the UAE will come as one of three types - and you should understand the differences as they may impact on the advice you receive.
Independent advisers can recommend financial products and services offered by any provider – remember to check that the product provider is licenced and regulated.
Tied agents can only recommend those from a single provider, but multi-tied agents can discuss products and services from more than one provider but not the whole market.
Make sure you understand which type of adviser is giving you advice as sometimes, independent and tied agents can work for the same firm.
For example, a tied agent with a bank cannot recommend cheaper or better products offered by other providers.
How much does financial advice cost?
Financial advisers must tell you how much they will charge for dealing with your case before they start the work. Most financial advisers are paid commission by the institutions that they recommend, however don’t be fooled as this is still paid by you. If you’re taking out an investment, an ongoing investment advice fee is applied, which is typically up to 1% of your invested assets.
Some financial advisers cannot accept commission, so will charge you for the work they do.
This can be a fixed fee, an hourly charge or for investment advice, a percentage of the money you want them to manage for you. Ongoing work may involve a mixture of different charges.
Fixed fees are the best option as the charge is not open-ended, however there are few advisers in the UAE that operate in this way.
The average charge is 700 dirhams an hour - but the rate can vary between 500 and 1500 dirhams an hour.
Lenders may pay mortgage advisers commission, called a procuration fee or ‘proc fee’.
Expect to pay around 10,000 dirhams for the mortgage advice itself.
Check out reliability
You are likely to have a long-term relationship with your financial adviser, so it is important you can trust and respect each other.
In most cases, little frustrating things stress a business relationship. To avoid these, try to sort out some issues in advance of starting the relationship.
Was the financial adviser late for your meeting?
Time keeping is important and hanging around for half an hour every time you have an appointment is annoying, especially if you have made the effort to turn up on time.
Does your adviser respond to telephone calls and emails?
You should not expect an instant response, but a reply within a reasonable time is only polite. If your adviser cannot get in touch when you are a new client, the relationship is likely to deteriorate later.
Does your adviser give clear explanations?
Financial products are complicated, and most people need someone to clearly explain the jargon. If your adviser can’t or won’t clearly explain the options, then find someone who will.
Choosing a financial adviser in the UAE
If you have a short list of financial advisers in Dubai, for instance, benchmark them by going through the steps listed in this article.
The financial adviser for you should choose is the one that best matches your expectations, not necessarily the cheapest.
Don’t forget to browse our directory of financial advisers, which shows their experience, qualifications and real client reviews.