Banking & Finance Dubai launches Emirati savers programme for women By Shane McGinley August 27, 2022 Supplied Rehab Lootah, deputy group CEO of National Bonds, says its female members increased their savings over the pandemic Saving and investments by Emirati women are very lowNew savings bond offers prizes to womenMinimum investment is AED5,000 In the run up to Emirati Women’s Day on August 28, National Bonds, which is owned by Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund, has launched a new initiative designed for female Emirati investors and savers. This follows its survey findings that more than half of Emirati women do not invest any of their money and 30 percent have no savings plan. On a more positive note, the Shariah-compliant savings and investment company also found that the amount saved by its female members over the pandemic actually increased, despite it being a challenging period for UAE families. “In the last two years there’s been a huge increase in the portfolio,” Rehab Lootah, deputy group CEO of National Bonds, said. “They [female members] have increased their savings, which, I think, peaked last year.” Quotas for funding women-led startups could address male biasFemale startups face ‘bias’ over funding in Middle East In a bid to capitalise on this growing trend, National Bonds has launched the women’s initiative, Tejouri Al Emarateyat. It requires a minimum investment of AED5,000 ($1,361). Emirati female members will be entered in a series of regular raffles where they could win more than 12,000 dedicated prizes worth AED720,000. They can also enter a quarterly draw for AED1 million, with the chance to win a monthly prize of a Tesla car. Empowerment Lootah said that currently around 40 percent of the company’s users are women – comprising both Emiratis and expats – and she hopes this new programme will entice more of her peers to become regular savers. She pointed out that because there is a smaller pool of participants in Tejouri Al Emarateyat, the members are more likely to win a prize as part of the regular draws, compared to other investment programmes that are open to all members. The National Bonds survey also found that 39 percent of those who do not currently save their money would be motivated to do so if they received a high return on investment. A quarter of respondents said they were driven by cash incentives, 18 percent by gold, and seven percent by the chance to win and gift vouchers. “Women think and plan not just for themselves, but for their children and wider family as well,” Lootah said. “Our aim is to empower the women of this country to become financially independent by investing their money in ways that prioritise their needs and gives them high returns, flexibility, and benefits.” The International Monetary Fund forecast that UAE inflation would reach 3.7 percent this year, falling back to 2.8 percent in 2023. This is low compared to the 6.6 percent forecast for advanced global economies, but costs for UAE consumers have been rising. However, Lootah said this has not yet had an impact on National Bonds members and she has seen “very low reduction rates” in the amount savers were putting away each month.