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Financial advisers in Dubai and the UAE

Finding a financial adviser in Dubai and the UAE doesn't have to be a struggle. Discover why Holborn Assets are the financial advisory firm of choice for expats.

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Looking for financial advisers in Dubai and the UAE? Between 2005 and 2010, the UAE population growth exploded, almost doubling in five years. This was mainly due to the increasing number of expats moving to the region.

Since then, the UAE has seen a steady population increase, with many expats seeking qualified financial advice.

As of 2022, around 10.8 million people live in the UAE, according to data from Global Media Insight. And at 8.92 million, expats make up nearly 89% of the total population.

Of the seven emirates, Dubai is by far the largest, with a population of nearly 3.5 million. It is also one of the top destinations for highly qualified professionals due to its quality of life and numerous financial advantages.

But in a country where the laws and systems are likely very different to those back home, you have to ask yourself: ‘Am I making the most of my financial situation and setting myself up for success?’

Below, we look at the benefits of expat financial advice in the UAE and how to find the right financial adviser in Dubai.

Why is financial advice in Dubai important?

Managing your finances in a new country can be a challenge.

From savings and investments to insurance policies, expats have access to a wide range of products and services in Dubai. But with so many options, it can be difficult to know which is right for you.

Financial advice from a qualified financial adviser in Dubai can help you to identify the right products and services based on your specific needs and financial goals. So, by working with a financial adviser in Dubai, you can make more informed decisions.

A financial adviser can also help you with the following:

  • Develop a plan to help you reach your short-term and long-term financial goals
  • Suggest products to help protect yourself and your family against potential financial risks that may come your way

Learn more about the benefits of financial advice in our guide.

How do I choose the right financial adviser in Dubai?

Working with a financial adviser means trusting them with your finances and that they have your best interest at heart.

So, finding the right one is essential.

For those looking for professional financial advice in Dubai, here are a few tips:

Qualifications, experience and licencing

You must be licensed to give professional financial advice in Dubai. Always check that the company is fully licensed, so you know they are backed and approved by the relevant authorities.

You should also ensure that a financial adviser has the qualifications and experience needed to provide the advice you need.

At Holborn Assets, all financial advisers hold a minimum Level-4 certification from the CISI or equivalent.


Make sure the person you trust with your finances is a reputable professional. You can do this by using online review websites such as Trustpilot. to verify a financial adviser in the UAE.

Clear fee structure

Financial advisers in the UAE typically charge in two ways; fees or commissions.

Fees mean a flat fee for the service they provide. If their fees are based on commission, it typically means a percentage based on the assets they manage.

Either way, a good financial adviser will be transparent about their fee structure, so there are no hidden costs along the way.

Understanding your needs

Everyone has different needs and unique goals. A good financial adviser will ask the right questions and take the time to understand you before explaining your options.

For example, if you’re a high-net-worth-individual, your needs will differ compared to others. You can learn more about financial advice for high earners in our handy guide.

If you earn quite a lot, you might benefit from the bespoke guidance proviced by a wealth management strategy instead.

The cost of using a financial adviser in Dubai

The cost of financial advice in Dubai varies depending on several factors. For example, the type of service they provide and their experience level.

Some financial advisers will charge a flat fee, while others charge management fees. These are usually a percentage based on the assets under management (AUM).

Regardless, the fee structure should be transparent, so you know the expense upfront.

For more information, read our article about how much financial advice costs.

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Financial planning vs financial advice – what’s the difference?

While financial planning and financial advice are closely related, there are some subtle differences.

As the name suggests, financial planning is the process of creating a plan for managing your finances. Some of the core components often associated with financial planning include:

  • Setting financial goals
  • Wealth management
  • Creating a budget

Ultimately, the aim is to create a clear financial roadmap for achieving your goals.

On the other hand, financial advice is guidance and support provided by a professional to help you make informed decisions. Generally, a financial adviser will specialise in financial products such as investments, savings products and insurance policies.

Financial advisers typically help you with the following:

  • Provide investment advice and develop investment strategies
  • Retirement planning
  • Tax planning
  • Estate planning

For a detailed breakdown of the two, please visit our Financial Advice Vs Financial Planning page.

Why does financial planning in Dubai matter?

For expats especially, financial planning in Dubai is crucial as they often face unique challenges. A financial plan can create a clear roadmap to achieve your short-term and long-term goals.

Most expats and high-net-worth individuals move to Dubai for financial reasons. With no income tax to pay on salaries and investments, there are greater opportunities to build wealth.

Having a financial plan in place helps ensure you are taking advantage of these opportunities.

Want to know more? Learn how working with a wealth management service in Dubai could grow and enhance your assets.

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What does financial planning involve?

In general, financial planning for expats in Dubai involves many of the same steps and components as it would anywhere else in the world. It all starts with developing clear short-term and long-term goals.

For most, this will mean creating a secure financial future. However, there are some extra considerations for expats.

The first is potential tax implications. While Dubai may be free of income tax, expats may be subject to taxes in their home country. Tax planning is crucial to your broader financial plan to ensure you are as tax efficient as possible.

Another key component of financial planning in the United Arab Emirates or elsewhere is cash flow forecasting. A cash flow forecast estimates your expected future financial position, factoring in different scenarios.

By doing this, you can build a comprehensive plan to reach your future goals, like being more secure in retirement – read our in-depth guide if you want to learn more about financial advice for retirement planning.

Financial planning in Dubai – key things to consider

Global citizens living in Dubai often benefit from higher salaries. Not only that, but the tax-free environment allows for greater wealth-building opportunities.

However, making the most of those opportunities requires solid financial planning. Here are some key things to consider to build and protect wealth effectively.

Pension savings

While you don’t pay tax in Dubai on your income, there is a catch.

Unlike in the UK and other countries, there are no automatic workplace pension enrolments. For this reason, it is down to you to set up a pension plan.

With so many retirement planning products in the market, finding the right one for you is essential.

Holborn Assets retirement planning specialists help expats living in Dubai plan effectively for retirement. We have the knowledge and experience to get you from where you are now to where you want to be when you retire.

Offshore banking

Offshore banking means banking in a different jurisdiction to your country of origin and where you currently live. For expats living in the UAE, this can offer numerous benefits.

For example, offshore banks are better suited to receiving and making payments in different currencies. They can also provide tax benefits and open the door to investment opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.

Insurance protection

Insurance can help protect you and your family should you need it.

There are some essential insurance options to be aware of for those living in Dubai. These include life insurance and critical illness insurance. However, medical insurance in the UAE is also highly recommended.

At Holborn Assets, we can help you find the right protection for yourself and your family. Knowing you have the right cover in place should you need it will give you peace of mind.

Tax structures

While you may not pay tax on your income or investments now, you may do in the future if you decide to move back home.

Having your investment portfolio and other assets structured properly can help mitigate future tax burdens you may face.

Cross-border tax rules are complex, and speaking to a professional is highly advised. Doing so can help ensure you are as tax efficient as possible now while also preparing you for the future.

Investment strategy

An investment strategy is a core component of your broader financial plan.

Everyone will have a different approach to investing. The asset classes you choose or whether you use an active or passive investment approach depends on your overall goals and risk tolerance.

At Holborn Assets, our advisers conduct a detailed risk analysis to help us understand your risk profile. We also take the time to understand your short-term and long-term investment goals fully. Doing so allows us to provide you with bespoke advice to help you reach your goals.

Estate planning

Estate planning is an essential yet often overlooked aspect of financial planning for expats in Dubai.

As an expat living and working in Dubai, there are not only the local rules and laws to consider but also those back home.

For example, for many British expats, their estate is likely liable for UK inheritance tax (IHT). Depending on your situation, IHT may apply to your UK assets or even your worldwide estate.

Trusts play an important role in reducing your IHT bill. But with so many different types of trusts, you need to find the right one that suits your needs. Working with a financial planning professional can make this process more straightforward.

But there is more to think about than just tax. Another vital point to consider is your will.

Even if you already have a will, it may not be recognised in the UAE. Our team at Holborn Assets can help ensure you have a will in place that complies with local laws. That way, you can ensure your loved ones are taken care of financially.

The steps to build a successful financial plan

Building a successful financial plan for global citizens in Dubai can be challenging. However, achieving your goals is possible with the right strategy.

While everyone has different needs, here are some general steps for expats to build a financial plan.

Qualifications, experience and licencing

A cash flow forecast is more than just a budget. It will take into account all of your current cash flow to predict future cash flow. By doing this today, you can better plan for tomorrow.

While anyone can create a cash flow forecast, working with a professional provides added benefits.

A professional financial planning service will help you spot shortfalls and potential problems before they occur, giving you a massive advantage. By knowing what lies ahead, you can make adjustments now to compensate.

Grow your capital

Part of your cash flow forecast should account for any money you set aside for capital growth. In other words, the money you either save or invest.

There are plenty of savings products tailored toward expats on the market. These savings plans can help you build a steady income stream through interest payments and allow you to take advantage of compound interest.

Building a strong investment portfolio is a long-term strategy and is another important component of creating future wealth.

Working with an experienced financial adviser in Dubai who knows the market well can help you find suitable options based on your needs. They can also help to make the investment experience smoother.

Be prepared

Whether you are an expat living in the Middle East or elsewhere, making sure you are prepared for what life throws at you is essential.

Having an emergency fund will give you peace of mind should you need it. This is an amount you have saved to cover your living expenses in an emergency, such as a loss of income.

The golden rule

There is a golden rule that all international professionals should follow, and that is the ‘ORB rule.’

ORB stands for Origin, Residence and Banking location. Here’s what it means:

As an expat, your country of origin is likely different to your country of residence. In that case, it is wise to bank in a third location.

Banking offshore can provide tax benefits and help protect your wealth. They also make it more straightforward when dealing in multiple currencies, which is common for expats living in Dubai.

Ongoing advice

Financial planning is an ongoing process.

As goals and financial circumstances change, adapting is essential to stay on track. As goals and financial circumstances change, adapting is essential to stay on track. This means monitoring and reviewing your plan and making any tweaks as needed.

Seeking financial advice in the UAE from a professional that you can trust can help you navigate any challenges that come your way.

The tax structure in Dubai and the UAE

The tax structure in Dubai is one of the main selling points for those wanting to move here for work.

Unlike in other countries, the tax in Dubai and the UAE is relatively straightforward.

There is no personal income tax to pay, meaning salaries earned in Dubai are free of income tax. Your pension fund, capital gains or income from other assets, such as investments, are also free of income tax.

Instead, the government raises funds through Value-Added Tax (VAT). VAT is levied at 5% on most goods and services. However, higher rates apply to certain products, such as carbonated drinks and tobacco products.

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Holborn Assets – financial advisers in Dubai and the UAE

Holborn Assets is a leading financial services company specialising in financial advice in Dubai for expats.

We provide tailored financial solutions and wealth management services. Our team of qualified, experienced advisers offer a range of services to help you put your money in the right place at the right time.

Contact us today, and speak with our team to find out how we can help you.

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