Tuesday 2, August 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: In line with its financial well-being initiative, National Bonds Corporation (National Bonds), the leading sharia-compliant savings and investments company in the UAE, organized a series of workshops for employers seeking to educate their employees on the benefits of financial planning.
National Bonds invited a number of companies from both the public and private sector to learn more about achieving financial independence through adopting a continuous saving habit.
Providing participants with an open forum for discussing investment- and savings-related questions with National Bonds’ financial experts, the workshops focused on the importance of saving, managing wealth wisely, and instilling the culture of ‘paying yourself first’ with the aim to achieve short- and long-term financial stability.
National Bonds had designed the financial awareness workshops for companies based on its own surveys about the savings and investments outlook in the UAE – especially the annual National Bonds Savings Index that assesses the challenges and opportunities with regard to the saving as well as spending habits and the culture of saving among nationalities in the UAE. As part of this mandate, the company is constantly developing new and customized financial products that fulfil the financial goals of the majority of the UAE’s residents.

Mohammed Bitar, Chief Commercial Officer of National Bonds, said: “The 2015 National Bonds Savings Index revealed that 84% of respondents expect their family’s financial status to remain the same or stay somewhat stable in 2016 while 35% expect their income to increase to some extent and only 9% expect their income to increase significantly. The Index also showed that 63% of respondents in the UAE saved some of the money they received as a bonus or pay rise in 2015. These facts and figures encouraged us to dedicate specific workshops to companies in the UAE to help them assess better the need to support their employees with a sound and easy financial planning and savings program.”

New research conducted mainly in the United States has shown that employees are concerned about their financial future. Therefore a retirement plan can positively affect their performance at work, as it allows them to put their worries aside and contribute more productively to the company. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has also indicated that a stressful financial situation can lead to illness and even absenteeism.

Bitar said: “According to the latest PWC research, 52% of workers are living in constant financial stress, which is bad for them and thus for the efficiency of the company. In addition to this, a recent survey on pension plan sales in the Middle East carried out by Zurich International Life showed that 83% of employees in the UAE believe that the gratuity offered by their companies is not an adequate method of saving for retirement.

“Thanks to our workshops, employers are now more aware of the importance of offering their employees a savings scheme that will help them safeguard their future. When workers feel financially secure, they are more efficient and naturally more productive, so at the end of the day everyone benefits.”

National Bonds recorded a 71% growth in the number of participants enrolled in the Employee Savings Program in 2015 that offers an annualized return of up to 2.82% on a regular savings fund of AED100 and above within the Mudaraba investment portfolio. With 26 seminars organized and an impactful representation at 32 trade events, the company has to date attracted 83 employers from all sectors in the UAE. Likewise, the total number of employees enrolled in the program throughout the country has reached 6,302 – of which 60% are males.
Major players that have joined the program include Du Telecom, Dubai Airports, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Financial Market, Dubai Health Authority, Sharaf Travel, Medcare Hospital, Dubai Media, Dubai World Central, Financial Audit Department, Giordano Fashions, DP World, Petrofac, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Al Futtaim Group, Wall Street Exchange, Emrill, Dashing Nail, Abu Dhabi as well as companies from Sharjah including, Shurooq, Petrofac and Triveni.
Besides improving productivity, company-provided savings plans are also an innovative way to retain talent. In this context, Bitar said: “Through our interaction with companies and employees in the UAE we have noticed the latter would be more likely to stay with their employers or join another company if it provided a pension plan or an equivalent scheme. This shows how important a retirement savings plan is in the war to retain talent. Through enlisting companies to sign up for the Employee Savings Program, National Bonds not only helps them to enhance employee well-being, but also encourages valued employees to stay.”

Emphasizing the company’s mission, Bitar said: “Our goal is to instill a culture of savings and investment among the professional workforce. This is why we offer the highest rate of return among similar financial products in the market, as well as two grand prizes of one million dirhams every quarter, one each for a UAE national and expat. In addition, regular savers have the chance to win one of 15 exclusive prizes worth AED10,000 or one of 8,000 dedicated cash giveaways of AED50 every month.”

National Bonds offers innovative sharia-compliant financial products that help customers safely invest their savings while also giving them a chance to win rewards in addition to competitive annualized returns.