Majority of Indians in UAE want to invest more in country, survey finds

They intend to invest in property, stocks and businesses in the next three years, according to HSBC poll

About 66 per cent of Indians living in the UAE plan to increase their investments in the Emirates in the next three years, according to a new report by HSBC.

This is higher than the global average for overseas Indians’ investment intentions, which stands at 59 per cent.

UAE-based Indian investors will primarily target investments in real estate, stock markets and private businesses, according to the UK lender’s Global Indian Pulse report, which polled 4,152 people in nine markets, including the UAE (1,05 respondents), the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, among others, between August 18 and September 13.

“At 3.5 million, the UAE is home to the largest number of Indians abroad,” said Abdulfattah Sharaf, UAE chief executive and head of international at HSBC.

“India is already the UAE’s second largest trading partner and as both economies continue to prosper and grow, so will the ambitions of Indian entrepreneurs, businesses and high-net-worth individuals based here.”

However, a separate survey this week by Standard Chartered found that 43 per cent of affluent individuals in the UAE believe the Covid-19 pandemic weakened their confidence in their finances and prevented them from achieving new financial goals.

Thirty-five per cent of affluent people surveyed in the country said financial market volatility was the main cause of their diminished confidence, 30 per cent cited a fear of poor returns on investments, while 26 per cent said the complexity of developing an investment strategy was a deterrent, Standard Chartered found.

The UAE economy continues to recover from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, aided by Dh388 billion ($105.6bn) worth of economic support measures.

Other government initiatives such as retiree visas, remote working visas and the expansion of the 10-year golden visa programme to encourage foreign professionals to settle in the country, have also helped to improve investment sentiment.

Fifty-six per cent of UAE-based Indians consider property to be the most attractive investment asset class, while 51 per cent said they would fund UAE businesses and 40 per cent prefer to buy stocks and shares, the HSBC report found.

About 87 per cent of affluent Indians are already investing in the UAE, while 93 per cent have invested in their home country.

Sustainability also plays a major role in Indian investors’ decision making, the report found. About 78 per cent of UAE-based Indians said environmental and social initiatives matter to them when making investment decisions.

Of this, 35 per cent cited recycling and 34 per cent mentioned skills development, HSBC said.

This is especially true for 91 per cent of affluent global Indians and 80 per cent of those aged above 30, according to the report.

This chimes with research by Swiss investment bank UBS this month that found investors in the UAE are increasingly seeing benefits from integrating sustainable investing in their portfolio, with 93 per cent saying it is a crucial part of their financial strategy.

UAE-based affluent Indians believe technology and tourism sectors are most likely to perform strongly in the Emirates over the next decade, HSBC research found.

Meanwhile, 84 per cent of UAE-based Indians are happy, according to the poll, 88 per cent said they feel safe and 72 per cent said they are financially secure.

Despite the upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, majority of UAE-based wealthy Indians said they are feeling optimistic about their future, with many planning to invest, according to HSBC.

Updated: November 18th 2021, 6:01 AM