DIFC Employee Workplace Savings Plan fosters a savings culture, reaching USD127 million in assets under management in just one year

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  • 19,182 DIFC employees from 1,187 employers enrolled, enabling individuals to plan their financial future. 
  • The scheme restructured the previously defined benefit end of service gratuity scheme into a funded and professionally managed, defined contribution savings plan.
  • The plan brings much needed transparency to how EoSG is managed and provides financial security especially during a period of economic turbulence.
  • Interim performance of the Mercer Multi High Asset Growth fund has seen growth of 36.6 per cent. 
  • Region-first employee workplace savings scheme is testament to DIFC’s position as the leading global financial centre in the region, committed to attracting and retaining world-class talent.

Dubai: One year after its launch, the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) Plan has been hailed a success with over USD127 million in assets under management as of 1st February 2021, encouraging and facilitating a new approach to savings via the workplace.

Launched in February 2020 for Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) based employees and the first of its kind in the region, the DEWS Plan introduced a progressive end-of-service benefits plan to restructure the previously defined benefit employee plan, into a funded and professionally managed defined contribution plan. DEWS also offers a voluntary savings plan, allowing employees working in DIFC to help boost their savings. 

Within one year, 19,182 members of the DIFC workforce from 1,187 of DIFC’s firms have been enrolled in the DEWS Plan. A substantial number of employees have also chosen to make additional voluntary contributions from their salaries into the DEWS Plan, showcasing trust in this medium to long term savings plan which allows employees to plan for lifetime events such as their retirement.

The success of the DEWS Plan is testament to DIFC’s position as the leading global financial centre in the region, and exemplifies the Centre’s sustained focus on enabling firms to attract and retain world-class talent in line with UAE’s National Agenda and Dubai Plan 2021.  The DEWS plan is established as a Master Trust governed by Equiom (Isle of Man), while Zurich Workplace Solutions acts as the Plan administrator and Mercer as the Investment advisor.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority said: “DIFC is proud to have created the region’s first employee savings scheme and delighted with the high levels of uptake by our clients and workforce. The introduction of DEWS is one of many ways DIFC has contributed to the Dubai Plan 2021 by making the emirate a pivotal a hub in the global economy, as well as making it a preferred place to live and work. Whilst providing participants with more transparency and security over their financial future, DEWS helps the Centre retain its status as a world-leading international business hub that attracts the best talent who help us drive the future of finance.”

Claudia Maldonado, Principal at Mercer leading their defined contribution savings solutions, said: “We are aiming to foster a culture of savings through the DEWS Plan, which supports employee engagement while offering flexible options to meet the requirements of individual employees and their savings goals. It also provides employers with a compelling proposition when attracting and retaining the best talent as the DEWS Plan provides employees with security of benefits, as well as an efficient best-in-class platform to further build on and grow their benefits and savings.”

Reena Vivek, Senior Executive Officer at Zurich Workplace Solutions, said: “Tailored to meet the unique requirements of this region, the DEWS scheme has successfully turned an unfunded liability into a recognisable and secure benefit. The success of the initiative can be attributed largely to the simplicity of the plan and digital enablement, ultimately reducing the administrative burden on employers and empowering members to secure their financial future. The growing number of employees making voluntary contributions into the plan is a clear sign of the positive impact DEWS has had in encouraging regular savings.”

Chris Cain, Client Services Director (Middle East), Equiom said “DEWS aims to address a key issue with the End of Service (EoS) benefit system in the Middle East where employers are not obliged to fund their EoS liability externally. Most companies therefore tend to make EoS payments from company cashflow, meaning that employees are not protected against employer insolvency. DEWS has addressed this issue and as part of the scheme, once funds are paid on behalf of employees, the sum is ring-fenced and is no longer a liability of the employer, making it safer for employees.”

Members of the DEWS Plan are able to decide on the investment option that best fulfills their personal requirements, with five different risk-graded options and a Sharia-compliant option available. As of end January 2021, the majority of the DEWS Plan’s assets (75%) remain invested in the Low / Moderate Growth Fund, which is the default fund of the DEWS Plan. Nearly 20% of the assets are split across the other growth fund options including the Moderate Growth, Moderate/High Growth, and High Growth funds, which highlights individual employees’ engagement and the active role they are taking in their savings and financial planning

About Dubai International Financial Centre:

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and a nominal GDP of USD 7.7 trillion. 

With a 16-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of more than 25,000 professionals working across over 2,500 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance. Today, it offers one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups. 

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destination

About Equiom:

Equiom provides sophisticated clients with professional expertise in delivering multi-jurisdictional investment and asset protection solutions. For over 40 years Equiom has offered fiduciary services to the private wealth sector. This heritage underpins our ethos of responsiveness and excellence in client advisory services, leveraging our global industry, asset class and investment structuring expertise. Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited is licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority. Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited (DIFC Branch) is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). For information on the regulatory status of our companies, please visit equiomgroup.com/regulator

About Zurich Workplace Solutions:

Zurich Workplace Solutions (Middle East) Limited (ZWS), part of the Zurich Insurance Group entities operating within the Middle East, is a DIFC based company. As an administrator of the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) scheme, ZWS facilitates enrolment and management of contributions, enables the investment process and administers withdrawals through an online portal, DIFC based support team and contact centre. Zurich Workplace Solutions is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. For more information about ZWS, visit 

  1. About Mercer

Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s more than 25,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a business of Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with 76,000 colleagues and annual revenue of over $17 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment.