Pocketful of Dirhams
Robo-advisers and how they make your money work for you

Robo-advisers and how they make your money work for you

June 30, 2020
When it comes to investing, UAE residents generally have two options: use the services of a financial adviser or go it alone and invest on their own. However, a new wave of low-cost digital investment platforms that gauge an investor’s risk tolerance and assigns them a tailored investment portfolio of exchange traded funds have emerged in recent years.

Known as robo-advisers, the FinTech platforms generally charge lower fees than traditional financial advisers and wealth managers. They aim to make it easier for investors to make their money work for them. So how do robo-advisers work? How do they keep their fees low and what type of investor are they best suited for?

Host Alice Haine, the personal finance editor of The National, is joined by Mark Chahwan the chief executive of Sarwa, who guides listeners through the process of investing with a robo-adviser.
Why knowing your UAE credit score is so important

Why knowing your UAE credit score is so important

June 23, 2020
With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting salaries and jobs across the globe, it’s very important that residents in the UAE stay on top of their finances and in turn their credit score. The Central Bank of the UAE's Dh256bn Targeted Economic Support Scheme helps lenders handle problem debts during the pandemic, with many residents receiving payment holidays on credit facilities such as loans and mortgages. Now as the economy starts to open up, those who have lost their job or are struggling financially may need to rein in their spending, particularly if they are burdened with debts they cannot repay.

The first step towards resolving any debt challenge is to download a copy of your credit report from the Al Etihad Credit Bureau. Set up in November 2014, the bureau brings transparency to the lending industry by assembling a credit record of the nation’s financially active residents. AECB later launched credit scores for individuals – a three-digit number between 300 and 900 that represents a borrower’s creditworthiness. So why is this number important for borrowers to know – particularly in the current climate? How do you find out what it is? And how can you improve your score?

Host Alice Haine, the personal finance editor of The National, is joined by Marwan Lutfi, the chief executive of Al Etihad Credit Bureau, who explains everything listeners need to know about credit reports and scores in the UAE.
How new graduates can launch their career during coronavirus

How new graduates can launch their career during coronavirus

June 16, 2020
With universities across the globe forced to shut their campuses amid the pandemic, many students are learning remotely. For those finishing their studies this year, it can also mean attending a virtual graduation ceremony. But what happens to graduates once the university learning experience is over? Normally, those ending their higher education would now be wrapping up their assignments, polishing their CV and meeting potential employers at career fairs. But with the global jobs market in jeopardy amid Covid-19, it makes applying for your first position more challenging than ever. As the effect of the global financial crisis 2008-2009 illustrated, moving from university into a career in the middle of an economic downturn can have long-term consequences on a graduate’s employability and lead to lower incomes and savings rates down the line.

So how damaging could Covid-19 be to the careers of graduates trying to enter the workforce now? How can they look for work in this climate? How do they negotiate salaries and should they ditch starting their career now and continue with their studies until this all blows over?

Host Alice Haine, the personal finance editor of The National, is joined by Fiona McKenzie, head of Carfax Education UAE, an education consultancy providing bespoke support for students looking to access opportunities in schools and universities across the globe.
Teacher to millionaire: Everything you need to know about DIY investing

Teacher to millionaire: Everything you need to know about DIY investing

June 9, 2020
Andrew Hallam, the author of Millionaire Teacher and Millionaire Expat, is famous for building up a million-dollar portfolio of low-cost stock and bond index funds on a teacher’s salary. Since retiring from his profession in Singapore in 2014, the personal finance author now blogs about his experiences and delivers talks to investors across the globe.

What’s unique about Mr Hallam’s method is that he shows investors how to manage their own money or how to find a suitable financial adviser who won’t charge ridiculous fees. With many investors keen to enter the markets following the crash and partial recovery during the pandemic, Mr Hallam’s strategy is simple: first build a globally diversified portfolio of low-cost index exchange traded funds, second invest regularly without speculating and third increase the amount you invest over time as your salary increases.

So what do novice investors need to put in place to start their DIY investment journey? And how much attention should they pay to the current volatility in the markets amid Covid-19?

Here, Mr Hallam joins podcast host Alice Haine, the personal finance editor of The National, to share his investment journey and explain how others can follow his lead.

Investing post Covid-19: The dos and don’ts

Investing post Covid-19: The dos and don’ts

June 3, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. With so much turmoil in the global economy, it’s no surprise that our investment portfolios have taken a big hit. Over the past few months we’ve seen share prices crashing, livelihoods destroyed and governments rolling out generous stimulus packages to prop up economies. While stock markets have rallied from the lows we saw in March, the road ahead is still very unclear which can leave investors uncertain about what steps to take next.

So how should investors position their portfolios now? What opportunities should they consider? How much risk should they take? And with the record-breaking bull run encouraging many to manage their own investments, what’s next for the DIY investor?

Host Alice Haine, the personal finance editor of The National, is joined by Stuart McCulloch, the market head for the Middle East at The Fry Group, a financial advisory company based in Dubai International Financial Centre.