Dubai-based consultancy Insight Discovery's third annual reputation study has revealed that Western expats voted for independent financial advisers as the least trusted group, while respondents of all other nationalities cited recruiters as having the worst reputation.

Based on a survey of over 1,222 UAE residents, financial advisers for the third year running were considered overall to have the fifth worst reputation, with 10% of residents now considering them to have a poor reputation - up slightly from 9% last year.

Nigel Sillitoe, CEO of Insight Discovery, said: "Tough market conditions are often the best time for any wealth or financial adviser to differentiate themselves and prove their value to clients.

"Now they are more closely regulated in the UAE, consumers should expect to be able to place more trust in the profession as a whole.

"However, for their image amongst Western expats to improve I sense cold calling needs to stop, an annoying practice still used by some firms. A ban is only likely to become reality if the local regulators introduced fines for the small number of regulated firms who continue to cold call, they also need to get tougher with unscrupulous unregulated firms, who are definitely tarnishing the reputation of firms who take regulation and qualifications seriously."

This year, 27% of respondents overall considered recruitment companies to have the worst reputation in the UAE, credit card companies (20% ), telemarketers (18%), real estate agents (13%) and IFAs (10%).

Recruiters are the least trusted across all four age groups, as well as each income bracket, covered by the survey.

Sillitoe said: "The past 12 months has been exceptionally challenging in lots of ways, especially in relation to job security for many individuals, across all types of sectors. Recruiters don't seem to have responded by showing the right professional support or guidance for candidates who needed it."

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