DIFC rolls out employee workplace savings scheme

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority.
Updated 06 August 2019

DIFC rolls out employee workplace savings scheme

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), an international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, aims to provide a progressive working environment for its clients.

In line with recent global employee benefit trends elsewhere, the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) scheme will see the evolution of end-of-service benefits within the center from a defined benefit structure to a funded and professionally managed defined contribution plan. The new plan, set to launch from January 2020, will offer 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.

DIFC has finalized the selection of the key service providers for the DEWS plan. Equiom, a global trust services provider, has been selected to act as master trustee of the DEWS plan, whilst Zurich Middle East has been selected as the scheme administrator. Zurich will be assisted in its duties by Mercer, as investment adviser, and Smart Pension as technology services provider.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “Today, DIFC is recognized as a world-class financial and professional services hub and we are continuing to pioneer transformational directives that will drive the future of finance. The new DEWS scheme will reinforce our position as a jurisdiction that attracts and retains the very best professional talent from across the globe in accordance with best practice, including employee benefits.” 

Equiom’s Global Chief Executive Officer Sheila Dean said: “The selection of Equiom as master trustee for the DEWS scheme is a huge honor for us and testament of the capability of the team. Having spent many years myself working with Middle Eastern employers to provide employee incentives I am delighted to see the DIFC introduce a mandatory plan which will not only secure accrued benefits but provide a platform to enable growth and a longer term outlook.” 

Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich Middle East, said: “We are pleased to have been selected by Equiom in conjunction with the DIFC Authority in what is a transformational opportunity for better financial services in the region. We look forward to working with the DIFC Authority and Equiom in providing a truly world-class solution for the DIFC community.”

Amiri added: “It was critical for us that the partners selected to manage the DEWS scheme demonstrated outstanding capabilities, a well-tested track record and alignment with international best practices. Based on the extensive experience and sterling reputation of the selected service providers, having implemented and participated in similar schemes in a number of other jurisdictions, also in the region, we are confident that their collective expertise of over 70 years in this field will help secure better employee end-of-service benefits for the DIFC workforce. In line with the UAE’s National Agenda and Dubai Plan 2021, we are committed to creating a cohesive society and enhancing our business environment, as we deliver on our own 2024 growth strategy.”


AbbVie spotlights pharma sector at KAU workshop

Updated 20 January 2020

AbbVie spotlights pharma sector at KAU workshop

In partnership with AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) hosted an educational workshop to encourage more of its students to enter pharmaceutical careers after graduation. The workshop offered unique insights into the scientific role of a pharmacist to more than 100 male and female students from the university. 

Dr. Hani Asfour, dean of the College of Pharmacy at KAU, said: “It was a rewarding experience to see our students participate in this workshop for the first time. With the support of AbbVie, our students were able to learn more about the promising careers which await them in the pharmaceutical sector. They are now extremely eager and excited about their future prospects. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for them.” 

Ashraf Daoud, general manager of AbbVie in Saudi Arabia, said: “At AbbVie, we are proud to continue investing in the Saudi national pharmacists of tomorrow. Through our many partnerships with local universities, such as KAU, we are highly dedicated to supporting the Kingdom’s goals, as expressed in Vision 2030, and helping our aspiring Saudi pharmacists in reaching their full potential.” 

The workshop covered topics such as an overview of the pharmaceutical industry landscape, the importance of the medical representative role, key marketing concepts in pharma, as well as tips and advice on how to write a CV and prepare for interviews. Students also had the opportunity to speak to the AbbVie in-field team of pharmacists who answered their career questions and queries.

Khaled Fageha, HR director of AbbVie in Saudi Arabia, said: “As a global pharmaceutical company, there is an ever-growing need to attract the brightest Saudi talent and increase the talent pool of pharmacists. There is so much potential in the Kingdom, which we are always striving to unlock at AbbVie. Through initiatives like this, we are able to equip students across Saudi Arabia with the tools and knowledge to help them thrive in the health care industry, as well as ignite their passion for a career in pharmacy.”

Students said they found the workshop informative. “I’ve always been passionate about a role in pharmacy, but I was a bit unsure about what awaits after graduation. Thanks to this workshop, I was able to hear about the exciting prospects of working at a pharmaceutical company, such as AbbVie. I was able to ask all my questions, and now I am excited to continue working hard so I can begin my journey as a pharmacist,” said Sondos Alkhthlan, a student.

Another student, Nawaf Alharthi said: “This was an engaging workshop which has cemented my interest in becoming a pharmacist after graduating from KAU.”