Recruiters and real estate agents are among the professions with the worst reputations in the UAE, with financial advisers viewed as being less transparent on fees, according to the Middle East Investment Panorama survey, conducted by consultancy company, Insight Discovery.
The survey showed that around 24% of 1,000 UAE residents believed that recruitment companies had the worst reputations in the country, followed by credit card companies and loan agents with 18% each. Call centers received 12%, while 11% of participants thought real estate agents had a bad reputation.
Advisers from banks performed slightly better with 6%, followed by independent financial advisers and all others at 5%.
The survey revealed that independent financial advisers are viewed poorly by people who are earning between $17,696(AED 65,001) and $19,057(AED 70,000) per month, with 29% of the respondents in this group saying that financial advisers had the worst reputations in the UAE. Meanwhile, the survey noted that the number of financial advisers working in the sector has shrunk dramatically, with many viewing the arrival of new firms as a major threat.
The research showed that UAE residents believe there are three major ways in which the image of advisers could be improved, including more transparency on fees and commissions, a tougher stance by local regulators in relation to scams and unregulated firms (37%), and industry-recognized qualifications for advisers (15%).
“Our survey amongst UAE residents proves that financial advisers have been working in a challenging environment, which explains why there are fewer advisers working in the UAE”, said Nigel Sillitoe, CEO of Insight Discovery.
“One exciting development, which will help advisory firms who want their perception to improve, is that the demand from UAE residents for more transparency will soon be addressed as the Insurance Authority, which regulates insurance brokers, has introduced draft regulations that propose a cap on commissions for lump-sum investments and fixed-term contractual plans.”
The research, which was supported by 21 financial services companies, stated that nearly 49% of UAE residents are able to save 5% or less of their monthly income.