Dubai International Financial Centre's (DIFC) employee workplace savings scheme has signed 1,135 employers in DEWS, representing 17,567 active employees according to the latest figures.
Described as a "progressive end-of-service benefits scheme for expatriate workers," DEWS was introduced within the DIFC to restructure the currently defined employee benefit scheme into a funded, professionally-managed and defined contribution plan that is aligned with international standards.
The figures, reporting to July 31, show around 80% remain invested in the Low Moderate Growth Fund (the default fund), more than 17% actively chose to move into the higher growth funds, while just over three percent moved into the low growth (cash type) fund, the Arabian Business reported.
This is pioneering"
John Benfield, head of wealth at Mercer, told the news outlet: "This is pioneering. This is the first time on this kind of scale that we've seen savings plans being put into place into the DIFC.
"I think it really bodes well for the future. Everybody's been very happy with the performance.
The DEWS end of service scheme, details of which were released in January, is 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.
Claudia Maldonado, principal at Mercer Financial Services, said: "This is just a part of the longer-term journey to retirement.
To the news outlet she added: "Importantly, the end of service was never intended for a retirement, it was really just intended to help employees leave the UAE," she said. "Now the question is how can we change it and make it more relevant today and make it more fit for purpose for the population that is here and the needs that are here. Those discussions are starting and I think it's very positive."