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IFG Staff Writers 13 September, 22 8 min read

The Best Halal Robo-Advisors in the UAE

Business is booming in the UAE. Alongside its neighbours, its economy has expanded rapidly thanks to its vast oil reserves. However, the UAE is preparing for life post-oil and is transitioning into more sustainable economic activity. 

The financial services sector has a key role to play in this phase. Many of the country’s residents and workers are young and affluent and require bespoke financial services to meet their needs. The good news for them is that many digital investment platforms are vying to create solutions to do just that. This article will cover the best halal robo-advisors available to UAE-based investors.

What are Robo-Advisors?

Robo-advisors are online investment platforms that allow you to invest in pre-set investment portfolios. They are a great low-cost low-effort investment option for everyday investors.

The use of technology has enabled them to offer similar services to traditional advisors at a low cost. This has been a boon for everyday investors for whom a traditional advisor may have been inaccessible due to large minimum investment requirements and high fees.

Robo-Advisors in the UAE

 

Conventional Providers

 

CBD Investr

cbd-investr

CBD Investr is a robo-advisor set up by the Commercial Bank of Dubai - the first bank to do so in the region. They allow investors to passively invest in globally diversified portfolios. Their portfolios consist of stocks, bonds and other asset classes. Conventional bonds are not halal as they are interest-bearing instruments. Stocks also need to be screened for shariah-compliance. In short, you need to ensure that the underlying business and its financials are permissable. 

For more detail on the screening criteria for companies, here is our stock screening article. We also have a halal stock screener course that goes into more detail and breaks down each step of the process.

For these reasons, CBD Investr’s portfolios are not shariah-compliant and are not suitable for Muslims.

StashAway

StashAway-logo

StashAway is a popular Singapore-based digital wealth manager that has recently entered the UAE market. They offer a range of pre-set diversified investment portfolios. Their portfolios consist of stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities such as gold.

However, they don’t have any shariah-compliant portfolios yet. This could change in the future as they have publicly stated that they are exploring releasing a shariah-compliant portfolio.

Halal Providers

We’ve covered the providers that don’t offer a halal option for UAE investors. In this section, we will now look at the halal options available for Muslim investors.

Sarwa

Sarwa_Logo

Sarwa is a UAE startup that allows users to invest in funds, stocks and cryptocurrency. Its core service Sarwa Invest is a robo-advisory service that allows users to invest in pre-set investment portfolios for as little as $500. Sarwa has both conventional and Islamic offerings. Their halal portfolios allow investors to get exposure to stocks, gold and sukuk (islamic bonds).

Sarwa has also recently introduced Sarwa Trade and Sarwa Crypto to its platform allowing its users to trade with zero-commissions stocks and cryptocurrency. For a deep dive on Sarwa, check out our full review here.

Pros:

  • Allows investors to invest passively as well as actively trade in stocks and cryptocurrency
  • Can invest with just $500
  • Free advisory fees for one year using their starter plan

Cons:

  • Advisory fees are high (0.85% - 0.5% depending on how much you invest) with an additional 0.1% ETF fee
  • Its halal portfolios don’t have exposure to cryptocurrency (which may or may not be a con depending on your point of view)

 

Wahed

wahed-logo

Wahed is a global robo-advisor available in many locations across the world including the UAE where they have a local office. Wahed offers pre-set halal investment portfolios that investors can choose from to suit their investing needs. These portfolios allow investors to get exposure to stocks, gold and sukuk (islamic bonds).

Wahed has been around since 2015 and has served over 300k customers in over 100 countries. They are well capitalised having raised over $90million in funding with support from the likes of Saudi Aramco. They also have profile-boosting partnerships with famous Muslim athletes such as Paul Pogba and Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

For more on Wahed, check out our detailed review here.

 Pros:

  • Can invest with just $100
  • All its offerings are halal
  • Institutional backing and well capitalised

Cons:

  • Fees are high (Either 0.99% or 0.49% depending on how much you invest) 
  • Its portfolios don’t have exposure to cryptocurrency (which may or may not be a con depending on your point of view)

 

Wealthface

Wealthface-logo

Wealthface is an all-in-one investment platform that allows investors to trade in stocks and ETFs and also invest passively into pre-set investment portfolios.

They have a halal investment portfolio named Mahfaza that allows investors to get exposure to stocks, gold, real estate and sukuk (islamic bonds).

 Pros:

  • Its halal portfolio includes exposure to real estate
  • Allows investors to invest passively as well as actively trade in stocks
  • Can invest with just $100

Cons:

  • Advisory fees are high (0.75% - 0.5% depending on how much you invest) with an additional 0.2% MER fee
  • Its portfolios don’t have exposure to cryptocurrency (which may or may not be a con depending on your point of view)

 

FinaMaze

FinaMaze-logo

FinaMaze is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered asset management firm based in Abu Dhabi. They offer pre-set investment portfolios which leverage AI to individually build, rebalance and oversee your investment portfolios.

They have recently launched an Islamic portfolio offering that will allow investors to invest in global islamic stocks.

 Pros:

  • Its use of AI to manage portfolios is an exciting innovation for Muslim investors

Cons:

  • Large minimum investment threshold of $2000
  • Its Islamic portfolio only appears to contain stocks, with no exposure to other asset classes such as gold and sukuk
  • High single fixed fee of 0.85%

 

Taqwa Invest (In development)

Taqwa-Invest-logo

Taqwa Invest is an Islamic robo-advisor that aims to provide Muslim investors with passive halal investment options. Their offering is still currently in development and we look forward to noting their progress.

Final words

Robo-advisors are a great low-cost low-effort investment option for everyday investors. It’s great to see companies developing halal offerings for UAE-based investors. We hope to see more offerings come to market in the future that serve the needs of Muslim investors in the UAE.

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