Expats find managing their money in Dubai a lot different from choosing how to save and invest back in Britain.
The whole structure of lending, borrowing and saving is different because Dubai imposes a Muslim financial structure rather than looking at rules and regulations based on the legal code in the UK.
Although IFAs have to follow local rules when giving advice in Dubai, they can also look to international financial firms that work in a more European way as well.
Dubai was also plagued by poor advice from unqualified financial advisers in the past, a few years ago, the government decided to sweep the board clean and start again with the Dubai Financial Services Authority
The Dubai FSA supervises advisers and financial firms in the emirate.
Problems with wills
Because Dubai is subject to sharia law, the way wills, separation and divorce, mortgages and a whole raft of other financial matters are governed is different.
For instance, sharia principles that give guidance on how an estate is split on death are vastly different from those in the UK.
To get around the problem, Dubai has started offering expats the choice of having a British or emirate will.
In many cases, lawyers will suggest that expats with assets, such as homes or other property, in Dubai and the UK should make a will in both countries to avoid confusion for executors who have to decide which legal system applies.
Tax free QROPS income in retirement
One advantage of a tax-free lifestyle is transferring retirement savings to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).
The scheme will offer a minimum 30% tax-free lump sum, even if the QROPS is based out of Dubai in Malta and Gibraltar. Expats can also receive the rest of their pension benefits tax-free.
This is convenient because Dubai has no local QROPS providers.
QROPS are monitored by the local pensions regulator, so an IFA in Dubai advising a British expat on a Malta QROPS should have a tax team helping out with the cross-border implications of such a complicated set-up.
Whatever an expats financial needs in Dubai, always consult a licensed and regulated IFA as pensions and wills are complicated financial products involving huge amounts of money that are important to get right for yourself, families and loved ones.