After ten years operating in Dubai, Nedbank Private Wealth is looking forward to continuing to support its client base and further build its business as the region expands its welcome to expatriates.
International wealth manager, Nedbank Private Wealth, today (Monday) kicked off the celebrations for its tenth anniversary of operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), having originally opened its representative office in Dubai in 2011.
Andrew Bates, head of private banking for the Middle East, stated: “While we clearly identified multiple opportunities in the region from the outset, we have been surprised by the development of the financial sector and particularly recently. In addition, there is an increased scope for growth emerging as the region seeks to rotate away from oil as its predominant source of wealth.
“The UAE authorities are clearly thinking strategically about the future sustainability of the country’s appeal and Dubai’s as a financial hub. This was clear from the introduction of five and ten-year long-term residency visas in 2019, as well as the more recent ‘right to retire’ initiative, and the extension of citizenship on an invitation-only basis, provided appropriate capital criteria is met. We may already be seeing these impact property prices, which, particularly for family villas, have started to buck the recent trend that saw values soften.”
Foreign residents account for more than 80% of the population of the UAE’s seven sheikhdoms and, while they have been a mainstay of the economy for decades, the requirement for employment-led visas has remained consistent. In 2019, the UAE authorities approved the issuance of five and ten-year residency visas, which are automatically renewed. In 2020, the Dubai government offered individuals over the age of 55 the chance to ‘Retire in Dubai’ through a structured scheme. In January 2021, the UAE announced plans to extend citizenship to named individuals to attract talent and boost economic growth.
Meanwhile, the recent decision by Oman to progress with an income tax may mark the start of other GCC countries considering new taxes, following a similar pattern to the introduction of VAT. The boutique British-Isles-headquartered provider sees taxation supporting the growth of the wealth management sector, as the need for planning, to help clients achieve better long-term outcomes for their wealth, increases as individuals’ finances become more complex.
The anniversary comes at a time when Nedbank Private Wealth sees opportunities expanding in the UAE due to its handling of the pandemic. The country is ahead of all developed nations, bar Israel, in its inoculation programme, and is on track to have vaccinated half its population by the end of March 2021.
In August 2020, the UAE normalised relations with Israel, which will ease the lives of Jewish expatriates in the UAE, as well as the Israelis with dual citizenship who live, visit and work in the UAE. Immediate changes followed the announcement, including the UAE allowing people to direct dial Israel’s +972 country code, while both countries are planning regular commercial flights, following the first such flight from Israel to the UAE at the end of the same month.
Nedbank Private Wealth’s licence allows the business to offer wealth management, lending and private banking solutions to clients, as well as the opportunity for them to access wealth structuring vehicles. The celebrations will be concentrated on online activity, given the pandemic and the desire by Nedbank Private Wealth to protect its clients and its employees.