Complex Made Simple

Begin 2019 by kick-starting your savings/investments portfolio

The new year is all about ringing in the changes and focusing on fixing areas of your life that have been neglected for too long, like your diet, fitness and, most importantly, your finances.

If expatriates living in the UAE are planning to make just one new year’s resolution, getting their finances and savings in order should be at the very top of the list, according to the experts at Guardian Wealth Management (GWM).

The start of the year is the perfect time to think seriously about what you want to do with your money for the next 12 months and beyond and begin to make solid, long-term investments and plans to secure your financial future.

“The new year brings new optimism, so it is the ideal time for people to update, or create, their savings and investment portfolio,” said Iain Ramsey, Investment Officer at GWM.

Read Expert shows the bullish case for South African shares: GCC ties

The volatility that returned to equity towards the end of this year may have shaken up global markets, but it also presents new investors with an opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

“Looking back on this year, most of the equity markets have underperformed in what has been a disappointing year for asset returns,” said Iain.

“So, on the back of that and moving into 2019, there are some quite attractive valuations available which may be a good entry point for long-term investors.”

Savvy investors will see opportunity in markets that are currently in a slump but are predicted to perform strongly over the longer term said Iain.

“The European markets under-performed this year, so we would expect them to do better next year while the Asian and emerging markets also performed quite poorly so, again, there are some quite attractive valuations in these markets moving into the new year.”

Read: 4 tips for choosing a business partner

GWM’s team of financial experts can advise clients looking to create a range of portfolio investments and savings that cater to long or short-term financial needs.

It is important for UAE-based investors to keep up with the times, be aware of changes in the market, consult expert advice, and be prepared to diversify accordingly.

“What you want to achieve from your money depends on the individual and their approach to risk, if they intend to stay in the UAE if they want to retire back home or move to another country,” said Iain.

“If you’re looking to invest, it is best to diversify. To allocate some money to fixed income and traditional bonds, which will be at the safer end of your portfolio. Then you should also have some exposure to equity funds, which come with risk but also greater returns.”

Globally, political uncertainty is expected to continue to impact currencies in 2019, particularly sterling.

While the protracted talks surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union has hit sterling’s value, it has presented UAE-based British expatriates with the opportunity to send money home at attractive rates.

RBBi Study: 85% of UAE consumers prefer to bank online

For expats earning tax-free salaries in dirhams that are pegged to the dollar, sterling’s drop means they have more cash to put into any UK assets.

“Although the pound has dipped recently, its standing as a major global currency is likely to be retained longer term irrespective of the outcome of Brexit negotiations,” said Iain.

“Currencies are prone to fluctuations in the market, so it is advisable that investors minimize their currency risk as much as possible.”

Now is a good time to kick-start your investment portfolio and begin planning for the future by aiming for funds that should be on the up after a difficult year, said Iain.

“In terms of equity funds, the US remains the key driver of global returns, but value can be added by looking at the European markets and emerging markets as well.”

The key to mitigating any risks to a portfolio is diversification, to be prepared for fluctuations, and to make decisions only after consulting with industry experts, said Iain.

“A diversified approach that is not too concentrated in one area is the best way to make the most of your investments.”

Guardian Wealth Management offers tailored financial planning for families including budgeting, short-term savings, and long-term structured savings and investments. For information, visit