Where to invest in UAE: Best 11 Short-Term Investment for High Returns 2024

26 May 2024

Short-term investments are an essential component of a diversified investment portfolio, especially for those looking to achieve financial goals within a relatively short time frame. These investments typically mature within a year to five years and are highly liquid, allowing investors to access their funds quickly and with minimal risk of loss.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) presents a unique landscape for investors. It offers a dynamic economic environment and a range of investment opportunities that cater to both local and international investors seeking quick returns.

Short-Term Investment Options

Short-term investments are great for achieving financial goals within a relatively short time frame, typically ranging from a few months to five years. These investments are characterized by their high liquidity, allowing investors to access their funds quickly and with minimal risk of loss. Following are some of the most popular short-term investment options.

1. Digital Investment Platforms or Robo Advisors

Digital investment platforms like StashAway, utilize advanced technology to simplify investing, making it accessible to a broad audience without the need for deep financial knowledge. Often referred to as "robo-advisors," these platforms provide automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services with little to no human supervision. A user-friendly interface allows clients to tailor their investments to their financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. 

StashAway's staple investment product includes General Investing where it is designed to maintain a consistent risk level while optimizing for long-term returns, reportedly achieving an impressive *20.20% return in 2023

*Disclaimer: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Historical returns are provided for information purposes only and may not reflect actual future performance. All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of money you invest

2. Precious Metals (e.g., Gold)

Gold is a prized investment in the UAE, recognized for its ability to preserve value, especially during economic uncertainty. Investing in gold can provide a hedge against inflation and currency devaluation. It is also a tangible asset that can be easily liquidated, making it less susceptible to market fluctuations compared to more volatile asset classes.

Ways to Invest in Gold in the UAE:

  1. Physical Gold: This includes jewelry, bars, and coins. It's the most traditional way to invest in gold, though it involves considerations for storage and resale. When purchasing physical gold in the UAE, consider your investment size, as smaller dealers are suitable for amounts like AED 15,000, while larger sums might warrant consulting major dealers or investment houses. It's crucial to research the dealer's reputation, customer service, policies, and buyback terms. Key dealers include National Bullion House and Emirates Gold, among others. For a direct experience, visit the Deira Gold Souk in Dubai, known for its vast gold collection, or other notable souks such as Al Raffa and Gold Diamond Park.
  2. Gold Stocks: These are shares in gold-mining companies, allowing for investment in gold without physical ownership. This option offers liquidity as these stocks can be bought and sold on the stock market.
  3. Gold Futures: This involves contracts to buy or sell gold at a future date, suitable for speculative investments based on price movements.
  4. Gold Mutual Funds: These funds pool money from multiple investors to invest in a diverse portfolio of gold-related assets. Managed by professionals, they offer a less direct but structured investment in gold. Mutual fund shares are priced once per day based on their net asset value at the end of the trading day. 
  5. Gold ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds): Similar to mutual funds, ETFs invest in gold and gold-related assets. However, ETFs are traded like stocks on the stock market, allowing their prices to fluctuate throughout the day. This provides more flexibility and immediate liquidity compared to mutual funds.

3. Cryptocurrency

In the UAE, especially Dubai, cryptocurrency is seen as a promising short-term investment due to robust regulatory support, including the Virtual Assets Regulation Law (VAL) and the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). These regulations aim to protect investors and streamline market operations, enhancing the appeal for investors. The UAE's tax-free environment further increases the attractiveness of cryptocurrency investments. Anticipating future growth, the UAE plans to introduce its digital currency by 2026, aligning itself among the global leaders in financial technology.

Where to Buy Cryptocurrency in the UAE

For those interested in short-term investments, cryptocurrencies offer high liquidity and the potential for significant returns due to their volatile nature. To engage in cryptocurrency trading in the UAE, you can use several reputable platforms:

  1. eToro: Offers a user-friendly interface and a unique CopyTrader feature, suitable for beginners and experienced traders. It supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies and allows minimal initial investments.
  2. Binance: Known for its extensive range of cryptocurrencies and low transaction fees. Binance caters to both novice and advanced traders with its comprehensive trading tools.
  3. Kraken: This platform is recognized for its strong security measures and provides a variety of cryptocurrencies. It is ideal for traders who require advanced trading features.

4. Money Market Funds

Money market funds are types of mutual funds that invest in short-term debt securities, offering investors a low-risk option for their portfolios. These funds aim to provide stability and liquidity, making them an attractive choice for conservative investors or those seeking a temporary cash reserve.

Types of Money Market Instruments:

  1. Government Securities (T-bills): These are short-term, government-backed securities with low risk.
  2. Commercial Paper: Short-term unsecured loans issued by corporations with high credit ratings.
  3. Certificates of Deposit (CDs): Time-bound deposits offered by banks that restrict access to funds until maturity.
  4. Repurchase Agreements (Repos): Short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities.

Where to Buy:

Investors in the UAE can purchase money market funds through major banks, financial institutions, or investment platforms that offer mutual funds. These platforms provide easy access to a variety of funds, allowing for flexibility in choosing investments that align with individual risk tolerance and financial goals.

5. National Bonds

National Bonds offer a unique investment option in the UAE, providing a flexible and rewarding way to save and invest across various income levels. These bonds are Sharia-compliant, operating under the Mudaraba model, making them an ethical investment choice.

Products Offered by National Bonds

  1. My One Million: A savings plan designed to help individuals reach their AED 1 million goal. It offers a structured savings approach with the potential for substantial returns.
  2. Term Sukuk: Short to medium-term investment plans that provide a stable return of up to 4.98%, suitable for those looking to invest for a specific period. Though the min investment is AED 10,000.
  3. Flexi Term: Offers customizable savings plans with terms ranging from 3 months to 3 years. This flexibility allows customers to choose a plan that fits their financial goals and timeframes.
  4. Sukuk Al Waqf: Allows contributions as low as AED 1,000 for socially impactful investments.
  5. Savings Bonds: Start with just AED 100 and include yearly profits and reward programs.
  6. Global Savings Club, Accelerator Savings Plan, and more: Various plans to fast-track savings goals with generous annual bonuses and access to substantial reward programs.
  7. The Payout and 2-Year Booster: Offers competitive returns with options for monthly profits and short-term capital growth.

And many more

How to Apply and Eligibility

Purchasing National Bonds is straightforward and can be done through Emirates post offices, the National Bonds website, direct office visits, exchange houses, or associated banks. Eligibility generally requires being a UAE resident or national with valid identification. Minors can participate through a legal guardian.

National Bonds cater to a broad audience, offering various investment and savings products with competitive returns and additional benefits like prize draws and ethical investing, aligning with Sharia principles.

6. Crypto Staking

Crypto staking is an increasingly popular investment in the UAE, offering users a way to generate passive income while supporting the security and independence of blockchain networks. With a multitude of crypto exchanges available, investors can choose from various platforms that differ in features, returns, and supported tokens.

Best Crypto Staking Platforms in UAE

  1. eToro: Best for beginners with low fees and a user-friendly copy trading feature.UAE residents are eligible for Cardano (ADA) staking only.
  2. Binance: Offers high returns and a wide range of cryptocurrencies for staking.
  3. Crypto.com: Known for its user-friendliness and supports over 40 different cryptocurrencies for staking.
  4. Coinbase: Ideal for those looking for an intuitive staking interface, available in the U.S.

How to Select the Best Cryptocurrencies for Staking?

When selecting the best cryptocurrencies for staking to generate passive income, it's crucial to choose coins that align with your investment goals and values. Key factors to consider include:

  1. Coin's Supply: Opt for coins with a fixed supply to potentially benefit from price appreciation due to increased demand.
  2. Minimum Staking Requirement: Be aware of the minimum and maximum staking limits for each coin.
  3. Yearly Staking Rewards Rates: Check potential earnings from staking. Websites like Staking Rewards provide detailed information on annual returns from various tokens.
  4. Staking Form: Understand the method of staking—whether through pools, directly on exchanges, or via validating activities.
  5. Real-world Applications: Prioritize coins with significant and practical uses in the real world, as these are likely to maintain demand.
  6. Coin Type: Consider stablecoins for lower volatility

7. High Yield Savings Account

High yield savings accounts in the UAE are an attractive option for those seeking higher interest rates on their savings compared to traditional accounts. However, it's crucial to understand that these accounts typically come with specific conditions. These may include requirements such as maintaining a minimum deposit amount, depositing fresh funds, or purchasing related financial products like insurance or investment products from the bank to qualify for the elevated rates.

Here are some banks in the UAE offering high yield savings accounts with competitive interest rates:

  1. FAB iSave Account: Offers one of the highest savings rates in the UAE, with interest up to 5.25% per annum on new funds deposited from 1 May 2023 to 31 May 2024.
  2. CBI Saver Account: Offers interest rates ranging from 1.75% to 3.52%, depending on the deposit amount.
  3. National Bank of Fujairah Max Saver Account: Provides interest rates between 2% and 2.5%, varying by deposit amount.
  4. Mashreq Easy Saver Account: Features interest rates from 0.3% to 2.40%, based on the balance maintained.

For an alternative savings solution, StashAway Simple offers a projected return of 4.7% p.a. with no minimum balance requirement and no management fees.

8. Fixed Deposits

A fixed deposit (FD) is a financial instrument provided by banks that offers investors a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account, until the given maturity date. It may or may not require the creation of a separate account. FDs are considered one of the safest investment options and are ideal for investors looking for guaranteed returns without exposure to risk. The interest rate on FDs can vary based on the term and amount deposited, and typically, longer deposit terms yield higher returns. Read more on our comprehensive guide of best fixed deposits in UAE to find out which FD is best to grow your cash.

9. Recurring Deposits

Recurring deposits (RDs) in the UAE are a popular investment choice for individuals who prefer consistent savings over time. An RD allows investors to deposit a fixed amount of money regularly, usually monthly, into their RD account, earning interest at a rate higher than standard savings accounts. This investment is particularly appealing for those planning for future financial goals like education, weddings, or purchasing property, as it instills financial discipline while growing savings securely. RDs are offered by many banks in the UAE, each providing different terms for maturity, minimum deposits, and interest rates.

10. Equity Derivatives

Equity derivatives are financial instruments whose value derives from underlying equity securities, such as stocks. Common types of equity derivatives include options and futures, which investors use to hedge against risks or speculate on future stock price movements. These tools can offer high returns and provide leverage, potentially amplifying gains significantly.

Pros:

  • High potential returns
  • Useful for hedging risks in a portfolio
  • Leverage can significantly increase profits

Cons:

  • Complexity and leverage make them risky and unsuitable for inexperienced investors
  • High potential for losses, particularly in volatile markets

Equity derivatives can be purchased through brokerage firms that offer derivatives trading. To assess which equity derivatives to buy, investors should consider their market knowledge, investment goals, risk tolerance, and the specific attributes of the derivative such as the strike price and expiration date. Additionally, staying informed through financial news, market analysis, and potentially consulting with a financial advisor can aid in making educated decisions.

In the UAE, major financial institutions and specialized brokerages provide access to these instruments, catering to both local and international markets. Investors looking to engage in equity derivatives trading should ensure they choose reputable platforms that offer robust trading tools and resources to support their investment decisions.

11. FMPs (Fixed Maturity Plans)

Fixed Maturity Plans (FMPs) are closed-ended debt funds designed for conservative investors seeking predictable returns higher than those of traditional bank deposits, with the added advantage of tax efficiency. These funds invest in debt and money market instruments and hold them until maturity. 

FMPs are typically offered by various asset management companies and banks within the UAE, with return rates depending on the prevailing market interest rates at the time of investment. It's important to note that while FMPs offer stability and potential tax benefits, they lack liquidity and are dependent on interest rate conditions at inception, which can affect returns. Investors interested in FMPs should consider their investment horizon and liquidity needs, as these funds are locked in until maturity.

How to Create a Short-term Investment Plan

Creating a short-term investment plan is a strategic approach to achieving your financial goals within a relatively brief period, typically less than five years. This plan involves a series of steps that help you identify your objectives, understand your risk tolerance, and select suitable investment options. Here's how to create a comprehensive short-term investment plan:

Steps to Defining Your Financial Goals

  1. Identify Your Objectives: Begin by clearly defining what you aim to achieve with your investments. Short-term goals could include saving for a vacation, accumulating an emergency fund, or making a down payment on a property
  2. Quantify Your Goals: Assign a monetary value to each goal. Knowing the exact amount you need helps in planning how much you need to save or invest
  3. Set a Deadline: Determine the timeframe for each goal. Short-term investments typically have a horizon of up to five years

Importance of Investment Timeline and Risk Assessment

  1. Investment Timeline: Your investment timeline is crucial in selecting the right investment vehicles. Shorter timelines may require more liquid and less volatile investments to ensure that the capital is available when needed
  2. Risk Assessment: Understanding your risk tolerance is essential. Short-term investments usually suggest a lower risk tolerance as there is less time to recover from potential market downturns. Assessing risk involves evaluating how much volatility you can comfortably endure without jeopardizing your financial goals

Tips for Crafting a Robust Short-Term Investment Strategy

  1. Diversify Your Portfolio: Even within a short-term investment strategy, diversification is key. It helps in spreading risk across different asset classes or sectors. Consider a mix of high-yield savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market funds, and short-term bonds
  2. Consider Liquidity: Liquidity is paramount in short-term investing. You should be able to quickly and easily convert your investments into cash without significant loss of value. Savings accounts and money market funds are examples of liquid investments suitable for short-term goals
  3. Focus on Capital Preservation: Since the investment horizon is short, preserving the capital becomes more important than seeking high returns. Opt for investments with lower risk that provide steady, albeit lower, returns
  4. Use Technology: Leverage financial planning software and budgeting apps to track your investment progress and manage your portfolio efficiently. These tools can offer insights and help you stay organized
  5. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of economic trends and interest rates as they can impact the performance of short-term investments. Adjust your strategy as needed to align with the current economic environment
  6. Consult with Professionals: If unsure, consult with a financial advisor. They can provide personalized advice based on your financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance

Creating a short-term investment plan requires careful consideration of your financial goals, investment timeline, and risk tolerance. By following these steps and tips, you will be able to craft a strategy that not only safeguards your capital but also ensures that your financial objectives are met within your desired timeframe. Remember, the key to successful short-term investing is to focus on liquidity, capital preservation, and diversification.

Strategically Selecting Short-Term Investments in the UAE

In the UAE, a diverse array of short-term investment options caters to various investor needs, balancing risk, return, and liquidity. For those seeking security and steady returns, Fixed Deposits and National Bonds offer reliable choices, while more adventurous investors might explore Equity Derivatives or Crypto Staking for potentially higher yields. Precious Metals like gold and silver provide a safe haven against economic fluctuations, and Money Market Mutual Funds and High-yield Savings Accounts offer liquidity and safety for those with immediate cash needs.

Choosing the right investment hinges on aligning with personal financial goals, understanding risk tolerance, and considering liquidity requirements. It is crucial for investors to evaluate how each option fits into their broader financial strategy, possibly adjusting their choices as economic conditions and personal circumstances evolve. Whether aiming for capital preservation or growth, investors should remain informed and possibly seek professional advice to navigate the complexities of short-term investments effectively.


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