Saturday 12, March 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: National Bonds Corporation PJSC (National Bonds), the leading sharia-compliant savings and investments company in the UAE, today announced that its savings and investment products provided up to 4% annualized returns to customers in 2015, outpacing the returns provided by other competitive financial institutions in the UAE.

In a clear-cut financial breakdown for 2015, National Bonds revealed that its three-year Step Up Bonds for savings of AED50,000 and above offered 4% annual returns, while its three-year TermSukuk for the same amount provided 3% annual returns compared to 2.25% offered on the two-year Term Sukuk.

In terms of regular savers among expatriates and UAE nationals, National Bonds registered a growth of 82% in comparison with 2014. The company offered an average 2.82% annual return on regular savings, while women bondholders with savings bonds valued at AED25,000 and above garnered annual returns of 2.94%. Furthermore, the average annualized returns for UAE national bondholders with savings bonds valued at AED25,000 and above reached 2.08%.

The company recorded a strong performance in 2015 with more UAE nationals opting to save via the ‘myPlan’ regular savings program. In addition, the number of minors enrolled in the program increased by 99% compared to 2014, while the number of UAE national women registered grew by 80% and the number of UAE national men enrollees surged by 78%.

Moreover, in 2015 the company witnessed a 95% increase in the number of regular minor expat savers as against an 88% increase in the number of regular expat male savers and 74% in regular women expat savers compared to 2014.

Speaking on National Bonds’ customer-focused savings programs, Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, CEO of National Bonds, said: “At National Bonds, we measure our success by the strategic results we achieve across the year in terms of attracting more savers and investors keen to benefit from long-term returns and low risks. Our 2015 results validate the competitive returns our savings programs offer customers, compared with other savings programs in their class.”

Al-Ali noted that while 2015 offered a multitude of challenges due to dwindling oil prices and market volatility, as well as the revamping of loans that raised investor concerns and impacted financial decisions, the year also witnessed more people learning from such experiences to save regularly through a sustainable financial plan. He said under a new structure of investment offerings, National Bonds will cater to additional segments of society and help them adopt a long-term financial plan.

Furthermore, he pointed out that National Bonds is encouraged by the high uptake of the new ‘myPlan’ program among UAE national parents who enroll their children in the initiative. This indicated a growing awareness of the importance of regular savings to secure a better future for children among parents in the UAE. It also reflected a growing trend of adopting a long-term sustainable plan that offers the best protection from financial crises and challenges of debt.

Al-Ali said: “National Bonds continues with its strategy of diversifying its investments portfolio. Our Wakala deposits, sukuk, as well as yield-generating real estate developments constitute the majority of our low risk investments and generate attractive returns for our customers. In 2015, we invested in sustainable, high quality real estate projects that mitigated the environmental impact through reducing natural resource consumption. As active partners in the sustainable real estate industry, we are engaged in a first-of-its-kind project in the UAE and Middle East region for the refurbishment of buildings in the Jebel Ali Free Zone leveraging a sharia-compliant investment in collaboration with Etihad ESCO, a DEWA venture established to make the built environment in Dubai a leading example of energy efficiency for the region and the world.”

He added: “National Bonds focuses on tracking the financial behaviors of our customers through our year-round Financial Heath Check. It is encouraging to note that our customers are increasingly keen to balance their needs and wants despite the prevalent consumerist trend and credit-card culture. Most importantly, savers across all ages and income levels today are convinced about the need to save for retirement. This tops their list of priorities. People understand the importance of budgeting and saving. Greater financial awareness helps them assess economic changes and anticipate challenges to their long-term financial stability. In 2016, we will reward this commitment by introducing a sharia-compliant insurance cover through a comprehensive regular saving plan.”

Licensed by the UAE Central Bank and fully-owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, the principal investment arm of the Government of Dubai, National Bonds is audited by the Government of Dubai’s audit department and is supervised by an independent fatwa and sharia supervisory board, in addition to external auditing entities.