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The Role of Expat Workers in the Middle East

A recent article in the International Advisor saw David Howell, Chief Executive of Guardian Wealth Management, discussing the role of expat workers in the Middle East.

We’re all familiar with the media interest in Middle Eastern and African countries, made all the more prominent by recent coverage of the troubles in Tunisia and Egypt. It’s easy to get swept up by the negative news stories, but as David Howell rightly recognises, it’s vital that we remain realistic and see the bigger picture.

So what is so attractive about these countries and why should we pay them more positive attention? Firstly, we need to appreciate that the Middle East is home to some of the most stable, prosperous and fast-developing nations in the world. At Guardian Wealth Management, we have enjoyed our experiences of working in Qatar and most recently the UAE (United Arab Emirates). While suspicion and fear may surround some nations, the aforementioned in particular offer many great opportunities for expats and investors – in turn, this means opportunities for international financial advisors.

Providing an Example

At GWM, we recognised the opportunities that Qatar has to offer; with its vast plans for growth, supported by a relatively small population, it is clear that to achieve its developmental objectives, there’s a strong call for an intake of professional workers from other countries. With this in mind and the fact that it holds the number 2 spot in the world’s GDP per capita rankings, we decided that it would make the perfect base for the first of our Middle Eastern offices.

Already benefitting from the above, this nation’s quest for development has been elevated by the news that it will play host to the football World Cup in 2022. In order to cater for such a huge, worldwide event, Qatar will see a sharp increase in the number of foreign workers during 2011 and subsequent years. There is no doubt that they have the ability to make the required improvements and additions to their infrastructure and facilities; but what is also clear is that their population stands to dramatically increase, as expatriates make Qatar their home in order to assist in the massive activity required to see the project through to fruition.

This amounts to an increased need for qualified financial advisors, delivering professional advice solutions for the influx of expats that Qatar will be welcoming into its arms during the coming years. It should be noted that the local regulator, the QFCRA, are one of the strictest regulators in the region and obtaining authority to operate in Qatar can only be achieved by companies who meet the highest standards. GWM achieved this in 2009 whilst other firms have fallen by the wayside; as a result clients should always be careful to ensure they are dealing with a locally authorised firm, as there are scam advisers who are unregulated, giving advice without the required QFCRA authority.

In response to our success, we are looking to expand our Middle Eastern operations, to facilitate these workers in making the right investment choices.

A Positive Outlook

While we have used Qatar as an example, it’s important that we encourage a culture of positive attention to the other Middle Eastern nations that attract and support professional expat workers. We also reiterate that financial advice services offered to these workers must be regulated and of the highest quality possible; a true working knowledge of serving these communities is essential in order to offer the correct guidance. Here at Guardian Wealth Management, this is exactly what we have; knowledge, experience and a genuine interest in making our clients’ money work for them.

If you are interested in finding out more about our services, please feel free to contact us with any questions – we are always happy to help.

Also contact us if you would like to find out more about positions available within our company.

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