Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced the final details ahead of the launch of its new DIFC Employee Workplace Savings Plan (DEWS) that it claims will secure the financial future of more than 24,000 employees based at the Centre.
DEWS is a progressive end-of-service benefits plan which will be introduced within the DIFC from 1 February 2020 to restructure the current defined benefit end of service gratuity scheme into a funded and professionally managed, defined contribution savings plan. The initiative also offers employees the ability to make voluntary savings into DEWS, allowing employees working in the DIFC to plan and secure their financial future with ease.
DEWS will offer a low cost investment platform for receiving and managing mandatory employer end-of-service contributions on behalf of their employees and any added voluntary savings by employees, including cash or cash equivalent options for those members that do not want to take investment risk with their contributions.
DEWS is a progressive end-of-service benefits plan which will be introduced within the DIFC from 1 February 2020 to restructure the current defined benefit end of service gratuity scheme into a funded and professionally managed, defined contribution savings plan."
As a leading international financial centre, DEWS will support over 2,300 DIFC-based companies' ability to attract and retain the most qualified professionals in the region, and globally by offering employees the ability to earn returns on their savings through a regulated and reputable plan. DIFC-based companies will also benefit from clear guidance on their liabilities to employees continuously, with assurance of no further financial obligations once the contributions have been made.
In addition to making voluntary savings on top of employers' contributions to secure long-term savings goals, employees will also have the choice and flexibility to decide how savings will be managed according to their preferred level of risk, including Sharia-compliant options. Employees will receive greater cash flow certainty with end-of-service entitlements spread over the full tenure of service to the employer instead of when their service ends. DEWS will also provide financial protection for employees in circumstances such as organisations entering administration or going out of business.
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and president of DIFC said: "The new initiative is aligned with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into a ‘land for talent' where the world's brightest minds have a productive environment to innovate and create value.
"The launch of DEWS is part of our efforts to put in place a supportive environment for talent by creating greater financial security for employees of DIFC-based companies. We firmly recognise that our future growth will be driven by our capacity to continue attracting skilled and talented people. As part of Dubai's broader plan for the future, DIFC continually reviews its policies to ensure we are attractive to talented individuals across the world. We are committed to building the best conditions for the world's leading financial talent to flourish in Dubai."
Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC said: "DEWS makes clear that we are committed to giving our 24,000 professionals the ability to make measured choices in relation to their finances that will lead to greater protection and returns at the end of their service or retirement."
"Being at the heart of the new Dubai Future District, we fully support the UAE's National Agenda and Dubai Plan 2021 while remaining committed to enhancing our international business environment. We believe forward-thinking laws and regulations will help us transform the future of finance, as we deliver on DIFC's 2024 growth strategy."
"As we unlock the DIFC's growth potential through our upcoming expansion, DEWS will help ensure we attract the world's finest and highest skilled talent to the DIFC so that business professionals enjoy easy access to the MEASA region from a dynamic hub that is fully in line with international best practice."
Global professional services provider, Equiom, will act as master trustee of DEWS and the independent legal owner of contributions made by employers, while ensuring the beneficial interest lies with employees. Meanwhile, Zurich Middle East and its DIFC-entity Zurich Workplace Solutions will provide full support to employers and employees through the administration and management of DEWS. Investment services provider Mercer, will bring an independent, tried and tested investment process to the master trustee of DEWS.