How to invest with a robo-adviser – Pocketful of Dirhams

Mark Chahwan, chief executive of the UAE-based roboadvisory Sarwa, guides us through the process

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When it comes to investing, UAE residents generally have two options: use the services of a financial adviser or go it alone and invest on their own.

However, a new wave of low-cost digital investment platforms that gauge an investor’s risk tolerance and assigns them a tailored investment portfolio of exchange traded funds have emerged in recent years.

Known as robo-advisers, the FinTech platforms generally charge lower fees than traditional financial advisers and wealth managers. They aim to make it easier for investors to make their money work for them.

One of the first players to enter the UAE market was Sarwa, which was founded in 2017 and received a full operating licence in November 2018 following a phase in the DIFC’s FinTech Hive accelerator programme. Other entrants include Wahed, a roboadvisory platform offering Sharia-compliant investments to Muslim investors, which was set up in New York in 2015, and now has an arm in Dubai.

So how do robo-advisers work? How do they keep their fees low and what type of investor are they best suited for.

Host Alice Haine, the personal finance editor of The National, is joined by Mark Chahwan the chief executive of Sarwa, who guides listeners through the process of investing with a robo-adviser.

Listen to last week's episode for advice on how to check your credit score in the UAE