This is a significant demographic that is continuing to grow, says Walter Jopp, chief executive, Global Life Middle East & Africa, Zurich International Life.
The allure of the UAE for NRIs is undoubtedly its geographical proximity to India, likewise the ability for those working away from their native country to save money to send home.
Meeting expat needs
As this expat group continues to flock to the region, more and more are agreeing to stay longer, with some families remaining for generations. It is therefore incumbent on the financial services industry to help meet the financial needs of this thriving community.
To offer well-defined, holistic advice it is essential for advisers to understand the cultural and distinct needs of the NRI community
For NRI advisers serving in the UAE, clients will look to them for specific, nuanced and tailored solutions to fulfil their varied needs. To offer well-defined, holistic advice it is essential for advisers to understand the cultural and distinct needs of this community.
This may be the simple act of accumulating wealth to be sent to extended family back home, saving for education, or looking at more sophisticated investments, including regular income generation.
Importantly, as an individual accrues more wealth, protecting this wealth through life insurance and critical illness cover becomes increasingly important.
Zurich constantly listens to its Middle East-based customers and its insights demonstrate there is a growing trend of NRIs exploring the option of retirement in the region rather than returning home. End-of-life planning is often the most important factor to get right.
To do so requires a deep understanding of how assets and liabilities could work over two or more countries as this brings risks such as inheritance, taxation, geopolitical and currency risks.
However, one must not ignore those NRIs that do choose to return home having accumulated considerable assets. And, unless these customers are guided on how to work these assets harder, given the complex cross-border rules they may face when transferring money, they may fall short of long-term goals.
NRI adviser platform
An NRI’s assets will typically comprise real estate, gold, businesses in India or elsewhere and financial assets. It is therefore important they understand which of those assets are portable and can be safely repatriated home.
To truly serve NRI customers, advisers need access to in-depth industry knowledge and market intelligence so they can understand key issues that matter to this community.
All of this information can be found on NRI Adviser, a new partnership between Zurich and International Adviser to promote best practice within the NRI advice industry.
Through this new platform, we want to cultivate a culture of knowledge sharing, innovation and customer-centricity to truly serve the needs of the NRI community.