The corporate specialists will provide services to business owners under organisational development, financial management and investment planning. They will help companies and employees with everything from insurance for employees through to shareholders, business loan protection and company pension planning.
The move comes as it was reported that 22,000 SME’s were set-up in the UAE in 2016, a figure that is expected to be even higher in 2017. What’s more, SME’s count for 42% of the workforce in Dubai, therefore there is a clear market for specialist advice for business-owners.
Mike Coady, Chief Commercial Officer at Guardian Wealth Management Group said; “There are fundamental considerations when running a business such as staff wellbeing and security, corporate governance and exit strategy, therefore we want to provide a professional service that will ease the burdens on business-owners so that they can concentrate on successfully running their companies.
“The UAE is an exceptionally entrepreneurial country which is fast becoming a vibrant domestic market as well as being a MENA business hub. Our team of experts are UK and internationally qualified, and are passionate about bringing the best experience, models and skills to this region.”
The division is headed up by Mike Coady who has over 18 years’ experience in both the UK and International financial planning industries. This division will also include Neil Stewart, one of Guardian's senior financial planners having worked in the industry for 9 years between the UK and UAE.
One such service on offer is Guardian’s business partnership insurance or shareholder protection, which helps SME’s stay in charge amid unforeseen circumstances and ensures legal beneficiaries are fully compensated.
“Many of the UAE’s small businesses are set up as partnerships but if one of the partners were to die or suffer a critical illness, their holding could pass to their next-of-kin as opposed to the co-director who helped to build the company from scratch”, explains Coady.
“This could present a number of problems such as the involvement of an inexperienced family members, a forced sale to an unsuitable buyer or a renegotiation of loans from banks or creditors”.
GWM’s Corporate Solutions team can also help to put in place adequate business loan protection. Over half of SME’s in the UAE have some sort of business debt but only 1 in 10 have put plans in place to protect it.
“Most businesses borrow money at some point to aid growth, usually guaranteed by one or more of the shareholders and repaid by the business. However, what most people don’t know is that director loans need to be repaid in full on death, which begs the question – without business loan protection, where would the money come from?”, says Coady.
Moreover, in the UAE it is required that employers pay gratuity to employees for every one year of service, an expenditure that Guardian’s Corporate Solution advisors can help to plan for. Alternatively, more companies are opting for company pension plans instead of or in addition to an end-of-service gratuity plan – an area of specialism that Guardian can help set-up for businesses.
“With our current client base of business-owners, C-Suite executives and high-net worth individuals, we are constantly being called upon to offer these types of business services so the introduction of a Corporate Solutions team is a natural next step.
“The GWM Group’s annual revenue is up more than 60% on last year and since my appointment at the end of 2016, the plan is to launch several new exciting brands over the next 6-9 months. Additionally, we have an extensive network of specialist partners worldwide, making Guardian the go-to financial planning firm in the region”, concludes Coady.