Investing In the UAE Stock Market | For Citizens, Expats and Tourists

Page Summary

This guide reveals the different options of how to invest in the UAE stock market. It also answers the most common questions UAE citizens, expats or tourists might have around EIN numbers, tax regulation and access to stocks listed on local exchanges (DFM, ADX or Nasdaq Dubai).

To help users find the ideal way to buy stocks in UAE, this guide breaks down the two options to invest in stocks including their key elements.

1. Investing In UAE Stocks

The most common way to invest in the UAE stock market is by opening a stock brokerage account with a local broker registered on one of the 3 UAE stock exchanges (DFM, ADX or Nasdaq Dubai). Investors also need to apply for a NIN investor number at the DFM in order to buy stocks on any of the listed exchanges:

  1. the Dubai Financial Market (DFM)
  2. the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX)
  3. the NASDAQ Dubai

What Are The 5 Steps To Buy Stocks in UAE

The 5 common steps to buy stocks in the UAE are listed below.

Step 1: Get Your Own Investor Number (NIN)

To get started you will need to apply for an investor number by filling out the Investor Number Request Form and submitting it with your signature and required documentation to the DFM. You can apply online via eServices, make an actual office visit at the DMF trading floor or contact a UAE based-broker.

Step 2: Choose a Stock Broker

Investors who don’t have a trading licence will need to buy stocks through:

  • A local stock broker – You can pick and choose stock brokers on the DFM official website and sort them by their overall rating
  • A local UAE Bank All of Dubai’s major banks (Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered, and ENDB) offer brokerage services to both foreigners and nationals living in the UAE.
  • The Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority Is a UAE government agency offering brokerage services to UAE citizens

Step 3: Pick a Stock (company) to Invest In

Picking a stock to invest in should be based on your fundamental analysis and research of the company you want to invest in. As a beginner try to avoid investing in small tech companies you have never heard and stay with the ones you know.

A great way to get started is to make use of copy trading or financial advisory services from your stock broker or bank.

Step 4: Choose a Stock Exchange

You can choose between 3 stock exchanges in the UAE (DFM, ADX, and Nasdaq Dubai) based on where your desired stocks are listed. To get access to either of the exchanges you will need to have a valid trading license or make use of a stockbroker who has it.

Step 4: Buy a Stocks

To buy a stock you will need to fill out a purchase form where you define which stocks and how many you want to buy. Once finished, the form will get submitted to one of the exchanges and you will get an ownership certificate proving that you own the stock.

2. Invest in UAE & Other International Stocks

If you are looking to invest in international stocks besides investing in the UAE market, you should make use of a more hand on approach and open an account with one of the online stock brokers.

Online stock brokers offer a more convenient way to invest in the market, especially for investors looking to buy international stocks. As with all things, doing something online is faster and easier than doing it in person. Online stock brokers enable users to invest in various different markets and asset classes all from the same dashboard and from anywhere in the world. Users are also not required to have a NIN investor number or TIN tax number. Plus a really good thing about an online broker is that you can test your trading strategy with virtual money and gain so much knowledge with their educational tools. 

The 3 Best Online Stock Brokers in UAE

Choosing the right online stock broker with the right fee structure will make the difference between you making profit and you losing money.

After analysing 133 brokers available in UAE and comparing them across 9 major categories, we have come up with a list of the best online stock brokers for UAE traders. Below is a short list of the 3 top choices:

1. eToro – Best Beginner Stock Broker

eToro logo

Rating: 4,9/5

Min Deposit: $50

Fees: 4.8

Assets available: 4.8

Total Fees:

Open account Read review

Leveraged and speculative product. Not suitable for all investors. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Capital is at risk.

Offering a combination of simple order types, access to 2800 commission free stocks and copy trading features, eToro is an interesting stock broker for beginners. The broker features a tool called CopyTrader, which allows users to copy the exact trades of professional traders. It has regularly been awarder for its usability helping users new to trading to step into the market confidently. Beginners will also appreciate the free demo paper trading account that allows them to test their trading strategies with virtual money. 

Open account

Leveraged and speculative product. Not suitable for all investors. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Capital is at risk.

2. Sarwa – Best Full Service Stock Broker

Sarwa logo

Rating: 4,2/5

Min Deposit: $0

Fees: 4.5

Assets available: 4.5

Total Fees:

Established in 2017 in Dubai, Sarwa is regulated by the UAE’s main regulatory authorities (DFSA and FSRA) and is therefore considered safe. It is is a full-service broker, meaning it combines automated investing, self-directed trading and financial advisory services at the same time. Users can either use their automated trading services to invest in a diversified portfolio based on their evaluated risk profile, trade on their own or combine both options. This gives users a great selection of different services from the same dashboard, all at very reasonable fees.

3. Interactive Brokers – Best Overall

Interactive Brokers

Rating: 4,9/5

Min Deposit: $0

Fees: 4.9

Assets available: 4.9

Total Fees:

Open account Read review

All trading involves risk. More than 80% of investors lose in spread bet and CFD trading. As these complex instruments allow for the use of leverage, there is a high risk of losing more money than you have deposited. Before attempting to participate in spread bets and CFDs, consider how well you understand them and if you can afford to lose your money.

With an array of over 100,000 financial instruments including 17,500 shortable stocks, deep liquidity and a competitive fees structure, Interactive Brokers seems like a top overall choice for stock traders in the UAE.

While casual traders can choose to invest in over thousands of companies through Interactive Brokers’s GlobalTrader desktop trading platform or the IBKR Mobile app, active traders can speculate on both rising and falling prices of stocks, commodities, currencies, and other assets via their Trade WorkStation Client Portal. All platforms offer extensive customisation options and features for all types of trading such as: dynamic charting, a full-fledged news widget, advanced order types, option chains, and detailed order flow information.

Open account

All trading involves risk. More than 80% of investors lose in spread bet and CFD trading. As these complex instruments allow for the use of leverage, there is a high risk of losing more money than you have deposited. Before attempting to participate in spread bets and CFDs, consider how well you understand them and if you can afford to lose your money.

Top UAE Stock Brokers Compared

The highest rated stock brokers for UAE-based clients are compared in the table below.

Broker

Minimum deposit

Penny stocks

Nr. of stock markets

Penny stocks

Penny stocks

eToro $50
17
17
No $50
17
17
No $50
17
17
No
Sarwa $0
5
5
No $0
5
5
No $0
5
5
No
Interactive Brokers $0
83
83
Yes $0
83
83
Yes $0
83
83
Yes

What Are The Most Traded Stock Exchanges in UAE?

The below section breaks down the 3 main stock exchanges in UAE, starting with the biggest – Dubai Financial Market.

1. Dubai Financial Market (DFM)

The DFM is founded in 2000 and more than 170 Sharia-compliant companies are listed on it. Companies that are ‘haram’ aren’t listed on the DFM and the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) regulates it.

2. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX)

The ADX is founded in 2000, based in Ras Al Khaimah, Al Ain, Fujairah, and Sharjah, and UAE companies are traded with them.

3. NASDAQ Dubai

The NASDAQ Dubai is founded in 2005, located in the Dubai International Financial Center (DFIC), and lists local and international companies. Companies like the Bank of London and the Middle East and Real Estate Investment Trust are listed on the NASDAQ Dubai. 

Watch the short video recap:

Conclusion

The most common ways to invest in the UAE stock market are using an online stock broker, a local stock broker or a UAE local bank. You can choose either of this options, depending if you want to invest in UAE market only (local broker, UAE bank) or you want to invest in other international markets as well (online stock broker).

FAQ

How Does the UAE Stock Market Work?

The stock market works as a publicly available exchange where investors and traders buy and sell shares of companies. Investors become partial owners of the companies they invest in and receive dividends and profits when the companies perform well.

Which UAE Stocks Can You Buy?

There are common stocks, (convertible) preferred stocks, new equity issues, hybrid stocks, and Rule 144 stocks. Apart from these types of stocks, there are stock derivatives which are financial instruments of which the underlying asset is a share’s price.

Can expats or tourists invest in the UAE stock market?

Yes, expats and tourists can invest in the UAE stock market if they obtain a NIN and provide their passport and bank account details.

Do I need a NIN to invest in UAE stocks?

You need an investor number if you want to buy and sell UAE stocks listed on the UAE stock exchanges. However, you do not need a NIN to trade international stocks using an online broker.

Do I need a TIN number to invest in UAE stock market?

No, you don’t need a TIN number to start investing.

Disclaimer

eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Leveraged and speculative product. Not suitable for all investors. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Capital is at risk. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Trading history presented is less than 5 complete years and may not suffice as basis for investment decision. Copy Trading does not amount to investment advice. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. Crypto assets are unregulated& highly speculative. No consumer protection. Capital at risk.
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro.

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