In recent years, the United Arab Emirates has opened its doors to brokers and trading platforms such as retail and contract for difference (CFD) brokers. The pattern is created by the embodiment of domestic free economic zones and independent financial centres. UAE is investor friendly and one of the most stable economies in the world. For individuals new to the world of investing, this guide on how to buy shares in the UAE is designed.
Residents of the UAE can buy shares through an online stock broker, a local CFD broker, or local UAE banks. Expats and non-residents can also start trading on the UAE stock exchange with the help of a broker. Furthermore, investors can invest in shares to reap dividends if the company performs well.
Choosing shares to buy is a complex process that requires investors to analyse company earnings reports and shareholding patterns. Those new to trading often need to gain the proper knowledge to do so and may be better off copying trades from experienced traders. Moreover, look for a broker with charting and analytical features to help you pick profitable stocks.
Brokers in UAE have a straightforward account opening process allowing traders to trade without hassle. Furthermore, most stock brokers provide multiple desktop and mobile trading platforms to cater to the needs of their broad consumer base. Before choosing a CFD broker, it’s always good to check its fee structure. Many online trading brokers offer zero percent commission in stock trading.
Before buying shares in UAE, do your research and carefully consider the company size, the volatility of that share, and its stock performance. Understanding that some stocks are expensive and beginners can buy a fraction of that share for less money is essential. Remember, it’s always a good idea to start with a small amount and go bigger once you know what works for you.
Be aware that while buying shares in UAE, never put all your eggs in one basket. Building a diversified portfolio of stocks in different sectors and economies is often a wise investment move. This allows investors to avoid overexposure to a few markets. Please note that Experts advise having shares in one’s portfolio that are negatively correlated or uncorrelated to minimise the risk. In this way, an investor can get the maximum advantage from his investment. There are hundreds of stocks to choose from to create your investment portfolio. Depending on the broker of your choice, this includes markets such as the US, Europe, and Asia. Those with a higher risk appetite may consider growth stocks. These companies have yet to reach their full potential, so the potential for both risk and reward is much higher than blue chip stocks.
Additionally, investors keep an eye out for undervalued stocks. A share may be considered undervalued if its actual value still needs to be reflected in the stock price. A good strategy here is to look at the individual stock’s price/earnings ratio and compare that to the industry average.
Buying shares in the UAE is a straightforward process. The following steps need to be taken before you start buying:
- Apply for Investor Number (NIN)
- Register with an online Broker.
- Deposit Funds.
- Select and buy your favourite shares.
- Track your portfolio.
Clients can also buy and sell shares in different exchanges through a broker. For example, after setting up an account and making a deposit on eToro, UAE residents can access stock exchanges in the US, Europe, and Asia. Similarly, Capital.com provides access to many stock markets in the US, UK, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, and many more. UAE clients can only buy stock CFDs.
Additionally, Clients in UAE can access shares listed in the following global exchanges through regulated online brokers:
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX)
Founded in 2000, ADX is an innovative marketplace empowering UAE clients to access 73+ securities in the region. The Securities and Exchange Agency (SEA) regulates it. The exchange primarily focuses on UAE-listed companies. ADX offers its clients securities, including shares (Sukuk) issued by publicly listed companies and other financial instruments approved by the UAE
Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA). Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and Abu Dhabi national oil company shares in the industry are offered on ADX.
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) started off as a small trading floor under a buttonwood tree in Manhattan and has since become an icon of Wall Street. The exchange (NYSE) trades around $1.46 billion shares per day, making it the largest stock exchange in the world. It trades the stocks of around 2,800 companies, ranging from established blue chips to rising high-growth startups. With listed companies like Apple, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Visa, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble, the New York Stock Exchange is still widely regarded as the best place to buy and sell stocks.
The (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations), or Nasdaq, is a stock exchange that lists over 3,300 companies. It now has the highest US stock exchange trading volume, with over $1.8 billion daily trades. The NYSE remains the largest exchange since its market capitalization vastly outnumbered NASDAQ’s. It has a wide range of companies, but it is best known as a high-tech exchange where many new, high-growth, and volatile stocks are traded. Airbnb, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Tesla are popular listed companies on the exchange.
London Stock Exchange (LSE)
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) provides a marketplace where companies can offer their stock to the public for purchase and sale by investors. Bonds, derivatives, and ETFs are only some of the several financial products it provides. The London Stock Exchange is home to some of the world’s largest and best-known corporations, including Shell, HSBC, AstraZeneca, and Unilever. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) enforces stringent rules and regulations upon the LSE to maintain transparency and stability in the financial markets.
Madrid Stock Exchange
Spain’s oldest financial institution is the Madrid Stock Exchange, founded in 1831. The Madrid Stock Exchange has been a key player in Spain’s history, weathering persistent booms and crises but always gauging economic trends. The Bolsa de Madrid is subject to the rules and regulations established by the Spanish National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), which aims to promote openness, equity, and stability in the financial markets. With 1,500 listings, including Spain’s largest and best-known firms, Banco Santander and Telefonica, are traded on the Bolsa de Madrid.
Hong Kong Stock Exchange
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is China’s largest stock exchange and the financial hub of Hong Kong. It also provides access to a variety of other investment options like bonds, derivatives, and ETFs. Some of Asia’s biggest and best-known corporations, including Tencent Holdings, China Mobile, and HSBC, are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). SFC, the Securities and Futures Commission, enforces stringent rules and regulations for the HKEX to follow.
Euronext has been a key player in financing the real economy for almost 400 years, from its inception as a marketplace in the 17th century to its provision of sustainable growth solutions for the future. This pan-European exchange includes the Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, Milan, Oslo, and Paris Stock Exchanges. Common examples of traded assets are stocks that must comply with regulations, ETFs, warrants and certificates, bonds, derivatives, commodities, foreign currency, and indexes. With 1,930 listed companies, Euronext provides the largest liquidity pool in Europe.
The standard fee structure of brokers consists of trading fees and non-trading fees. Trading fees include spreads, the overnight fee (in the case of CFD trading), swap/rollover, and commissions. In contrast, non-trading prices include deposit and withdrawal charges, inactivity fees and currency conversion fees. Some brokers also charge the handling cost of shares. eToro charges a 0% commission on trading shares.
Similarly, capital.com offers a 0% commission on trading CFD shares. This means you don’t have to pay any fee to buy stocks or stock CFDs on these platforms. However, the firms charge withdrawal and currency conversion fees. Capital.com also charges an overnight fee on stock CFDs. By comparing different brokers, we conclude that the trading fee structure of eToro and capital.com is the industry average.
Before digging into more details, let’s review the pros and cons of buying shares in the UAE.
- Real-Time Trading during the Day with Limited Orders at Market closed
- Opportunity to Vote on important Company Decisions
- Low Starting Capital
- Exposed to Risk
- The Value of Shares can go down, resulting in a Loss
Brokers are intermediaries between traders and stock exchanges to buy and sell securities. Before choosing a stock broker to buy shares, different factors should be considered to ensure your funds’ safety. Additionally, Being an Islamic country, regulatory authorities in UAE only allow Sharia-compliant brokers and halal stocks, often called Sukuk.
A broker’s licence and regulation are the most important things to look at. Regulatory bodies play a crucial role, including setting policies in the customer’s best interest. In total, there are four regulators in the United Arab Emirates.
- Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
- Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM)
- Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE)
- Securities Commission Authority (SCA)
Forex brokers that wish to offer financial services and products to clients in the United Arab Emirates must be registered with at least one of them. Choosing a regulated broker ensures legitimacy and guarantees that your funds are handled with the utmost care. For example, in the United Arab Emirates, you have the right to use segregated accounts. This means the broker has no access to your money. Another requirement is that brokers submit financial records for regular review so that relevant authorities can identify bankruptcy risks and notify consumers in time.
In addition to UAE regulatory bodies, online brokers like eToro are also regulated by global regulators like:
- ASIC, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
- FCA, the Financial Conduct Authority
- CySEC, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission
These regulators ensure that the regulated broker must set some policies in place, like negative balance protection. Additionally, regulators like ASIC require brokers to be completely transparent about their financial transactions, including sending regular audit reports.
Hence, the biggest advantage of regulated brokers is that they have industry-leading security features to protect their clients from hacking and fraud. You don’t need to fret about your data being stolen or misused.
In UAE, online brokers offer a wide range of stocks in different markets listed on global exchanges. UAE residents have a myriad of assets at their disposal. Brokers provide their clients access to domestic and international shares in healthcare, industry, telecommunication, insurance, green energy, technology, and real estate. Also, they can invest in insurance, petroleum, utilities, and financial services shares. With eToro, for example, you can access a wide range of markets from 17 different global exchanges.
Brokers offer desktop and mobile trading platforms to their clients. These platforms differ in efficiency, speed of execution, customization features, and other tools, such as stop loss. Almost every broker offers some platforms, including proprietary platforms and MT4 or MT5. But proprietary trading platforms are unique to each broker as the company programs them. This gives them room to improve the UI (User Interface) and add other features such as market news alerts, economic calendars, etc. For example, eToro and capital.com offer their proprietary platforms and apps, providing a range of features and innovative user interfaces to meet the needs of their clientage.
Clients in UAE can buy shares as real shares and as contracts for difference (CFDs). Some brokers offer shares in CFDs and as real stocks, while others only provide CFDs. For example, Capital.com permits clients from the UAE to speculate on over 5,000+ stock CFDs. Stock C.F.D.s are financial instruments derived from the price movement of a share. Hence, it does not offer ownership of the underlying shares. You can speculate whether the price is going up or down. CFD trading often comes with leverage.
On the other hand, you often need total capital to buy real shares. Buying real shares means you have ownership of the underlying asset. Buying shares of companies often comes with additional benefits like the right to vote in important decisions. For example, Mubashar, eToro, and Sarwa offer UAE clients real shares allowing them to engage in trading activities.
Furthermore, clients can buy shares in UAE and get benefitted from regular dividends. eToro provides UAE residents with stocks like Amazon, Meta, and Saudi Aramco.
Commissions are typically the most significant cost factor for customers. Commission calculated may vary depending on account type. However, some UAE CFD brokers do not charge a commission on their transactions. eToro does not charge its UAE customers for trading stocks made on their Islamic accounts. Similarly, Trade-Station does not charge its clients any commission on stock trading.
Most UAE brokers offer their clients both desktop trading platforms and mobile apps. These are downloaded directly to your PC. Additionally, online brokers offer their proprietary platforms. For example, eToro provides its custom-built Web-based platform to its wide consumer base. Third-party trading platforms like MT4 and MT5 are also popular trading platforms brokers provide.
Proprietary Trading Platforms and Apps
Online trading brokers provide in-house trading platforms to allow users to trade seamlessly. UAE residents have the privilege to access a regulated broker of their choice to implement different trading strategies. E.g eToro provides access to its powerful in-house desktop trading platform, Web Trader, enabling clients to design their layout and automate different stock trading strategies.
The CopyTrader feature of eToro allows clients to open new positions for their preferred instruments with a single click. Additionally, the firm has introduced Stop-loss and Take-profits features, with the sole purpose of helping the clients better manage their positions, protect their funds, and secure their profits.
Each version of the mobile trading app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and App Store. Online trading brokers provide many features, including charts, trading tools, etc., on their mobile app.
On the eToro mobile trading app, you can find over 3,500+ financial instruments offered by the broker. By allowing you to invest/trade in these assets with or without leverage, it provides almost everyone access to short, medium and long-term investment opportunities. Smart Portfolios is another unique offering of a broker’s trading platform. These are mass-produced investment strategies offering different investment portfolios in various categories.
MT5 Platform & App
MT5 is a third-party multi-asset platform that allows trading in various international and UAE stocks. It is available for UAE users when accessed through a broker.
There are more than 35 technical indicators on the MT5. It also provides a set of custom technical indicators. It offers advanced trading scripts and robust ExpertAdvisors for traders who like automated trading. With the MT5 mobile app, users can trade forex, assets, and futures no matter when and where. The MT5 mobile platform offers 30+ technical indicators and 24+ analytical objects to provide professional technical analysis of different assets. Besides, it provides real-time charts of various financial instruments.
When it comes to finding popular stocks to buy in the United Arab Emirates, risk-averse investors may choose to stick with blue chip stocks. These are established companies that are mostly far less susceptible to volatile market fluctuations.
Investors are encouraged to do their research and consider their risk appetite before investing in shares. Anyone looking to find popular stocks to buy on the ADX today should know that domestic stocks have historically underperformed the US market. Therefore, those wondering about purchasing the best shares in the United Arab Emirates may consider the companies discussed below.
With a market cap of $610.31 billion as of March 2023, Tesla is currently the leading company in the electric vehicle industry, and it is traded under the ticker symbol TSLA on NASDAQ. Tesla’s shares were launched on June 29, 2010, at a price of $17 per share. In 2022, Tesla generated a revenue of $74.86 billion, and its earnings per share were $3.61. Tesla’s share price reached an all-time high of $409.97 on November 04, 2021. Currently, the TSLA is trading at $194.77, up by 1045.71% over the course of 13 years.
The significant growth of Tesla shares reflects the company’s strong performance and market position in the electric vehicle industry.
Amazon’s stock was launched on May 15, 1997, at an initial public offering (IPO) price of $18 per share. Since then, the stock has seen significant growth and reached an all-time high closing price of $186.12 on July 08, 2021.
Over the past five years, Amazon’s stock has risen more than 180%, indicating strong long-term growth. However, in the past year, the stock has seen a decline, with the shares closing at $84.18 on December 31, 2022, down from $166.72 on December 30, 2021. However, currently, the AMZN shares are trading at $102.41, up by +468.94% over the course of 26 years.
Despite the recent decline, Amazon remains one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, with a market capitalization of $1.05T as of March 2023.
Apple’s stock was first offered to the public on December 12, 1980, at an IPO price of $22 per share. Since then, the stock has seen significant growth and has become one of the most valuable companies in the world.
As of March 2023, the price of $166.10 per share represents a substantial increase of 654.54% from the original IPO price of $22 per share.
Apple’s all-time high stock price was $182.94, reached on January 4, 2022. Moreover, the company has a market capitalization of $2.63T, and its EPS is $5.91, indicating strong profitability. Apple’s revenue growth has been strong in recent years. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company’s revenue increased by 33.4% in 2021 and 47.3% in 2022.
Meta Platforms is the parent company of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and many other subsidiaries. The company has a market capitalization of $315.56 Billion and an Eps of $10.61. On December 31, 2022, the company’s shares were traded at $120.34 at a volume of 19,492,10. Meta Platforms reported a 0.88% decline in revenue year over year and a 35% drop in net income. Meta doesn’t pay dividends.
Saudi Aramco went public in December 2019 with an initial public offering (IPO) price of 32 Saudi riyals (about $8.53) per share. The IPO raised $25.6 billion, making it the largest IPO in history.
As of March 2023, shares of Aramco traded at 32.55 SAR, with a volume of 9,012,324. The Company has a market capitalization of 7.16T SAR, Earning per Share of 2.72 SAR, and a Dividend Yield of 4.28%.
Saudi Aramco’s stock has seen relatively stable trading since going public. The company’s future prospects will likely be closely tied to the global demand for oil and other fossil fuels.
Currently, UAE residents have no capital gain or personal income tax. Hence, you don’t have to pay these taxes whether you trade or hold a share. In the UAE, there is a zero percent tax on salary and income due to business. In contrast to in many other jurisdictions, people don’t have to worry about individual tax registration or reporting obligations.
Reddit is a social discussion platform that allows users to post content, discuss topics, and vote on popular posts and comments.
While searching through Reddit about buying shares in the UAE, we found mixed views from users. Some find UAE stocks expensive, while some think they are a good investment.
This particular user is sharing his thoughts on UAE stocks. In his opinion, UAE bank stocks yield good dividends.
This Reddit user, upon asking how to trade US stocks like Amazon and Facebook, says Fidelity, IBKR, and Saxo can be used. He also mentions that eToro is also a good option. He is personally using it and finds the platform very easy to use.
Quora is a popular question-and-answer website that allows users to ask and answer questions on a wide range of topics. While researching how to buy shares in UAE, a number of users shared their opinions and experiences. There are different views about buying shares in UAE, as users have multiple options for shares to buy.
A Quora user “Haris Arshad” shared his views related to investing in the UAE. In his opinion buying shares of Emirates Bank, Mubashar, and Saxo bank is a good way to invest.
Another Quora user discussed in detail the investment options in UAE shares. In his view, stock CFDs can be opted for investment in a regulated environment. He warned others to steer clear of fraud brokers banned by the SEC that are still working in the Middle East.
UAE residents can buy stocks listed on UAE stock exchanges. Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and Dubai Financial Services are three local exchanges in UAE. Residents and expats can buy stocks in green energy, industry, insurance, banking, financial services, healthcare, real estate, and technology through stock brokers. Moreover, clients can also buy stocks listed on international exchanges like NYSE, LSE, NASDAQ, Euronext, etc.
While learning how to buy shares in UAE, it is important to select a broker that is well-regulated and offers innovative and easy-to-use trading platforms. Furthermore, a good broker has plenty of options and offers real shares as well as stock CFDs. Experts advise building a diversified portfolio of stocks. Clients incur a 0% commission on trading stocks at eToro and capital.com platforms. Saudi Aramco, Tesla, Amazon, Meta platforms, Apple, DEWA, Tecom group PJSC, Alfirdous, and Air Arabia, are some of the best shares to buy in UAE.
Q & A
You will need to open an account with an online stock broker registered with any of the exchanges (Dubai Financial market (DFM), Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange(ADX) and NASDAQ) in UAE.
Yes, trading and investing in shares is legal in the UAE.
Yes, you can trade share CFDs through brokers. For Example, Capital.com offers a range of CFDs to its UAE clients.
The maximum leverage allowed to trade share CFDs is 1:5 for retail clients.
“Sarwa”investment platform has the best shares in UAE.
Yes, you can buy global shares listed on international exchanges with the help of a stock broker.
Yes, by investing in Penny Shares through a reputed broker, you can make a profit if you are well-informed. Pepperstone and Avatrade allow UAE clients to buy Penny Shares on their platforms.
Listed in Dubai Financial Market, DEWA shares can be bought online. To do this;
- Sign in to your online banking app.
- Click on Pay & Transfer.
- Select the option of “IPO payment”.
- Enter your valid DFM NIN number.
- Select the broker.
- Enter the amount you want to invest.
- Authorise it with an authorization code.
- You’ll receive a confirmation with the IPO application and reference numbers.
Note: As at the time of writing this article, the subscriptions of DEWA are closed. Traders are requested to wait for the upcoming IPO.
You can buy shares from UAE stock Exchange through a regulated online or local broker or a local UAE bank.
- Apply for Investor Number (NIN)
- Register with an online CFD Broker.
- Deposit Funds.
- Select and buy your favourite shares.
- Track your portfolio.
Yes, beginners can invest in UAE shares listed in any of the exchanges.
The UAE stock market has a market cap of 3.206 trillion dirhams.
Amazon, Saudi Aramco, Tesla, Emaar properties and Abu Dhabi National Energy are some of the popular shares to buy in the UAE.
Buying shares of industries which provide financial services on interest or somehow linked with interest is haram.