National Bonds has revealed a growing trend of savings among the UAE’s youth demographic, with the leading Sharia compliant saving scheme experiencing 12 per cent year-on-year growth in its number of customers below the age of 18, and a 25 per cent increase in the amounts of funds being saved by these customers. National Bonds now has over 100,000 customers under the age of 18, which represents 16 per cent of its diverse customer base, from 120 nationalities. The latest figures from National Bonds, which cover the period from February 2011 to February 2012, underline the scheme’s growing success in its mission to cultivate a savings culture in the region and instill responsible and intelligent savings habits in the next generation of UAE citizens. Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, CEO of National Bonds Corporation, said: “National Bonds has taken a leading role in the mission to encourage savings amongst the youth as they are the foundation of our country’s future, and we are seeing this increased awareness reflected in our customer base. Not only are the numbers of minors increasing, but the amounts they are saving are going up as well. This means that we are on the right track to helping raise a generation of citizens that will contribute to the financial stability of our economy by securing their own financial future.” Commenting on National Bonds’ role in the increase, Al-Ali said: “In a culture where encouraging savings is still in its early stages, we have provided a product that attracts young people by making savings an exciting and rewarding process. We have also actively visited local schools and distributed saving boxes to students and educated them on the importance and benefits of adopting healthy financial habits from an early age. We have a lot more coming up to further this commitment in the coming year, which we will reveal very soon.” National Bonds also pointed to the growing number of Asian minors saving with the scheme as an indicator of the increasing popularity of savings among the UAE’s Asian expats. Asian minors make up 23 per cent of the total minors saving with National Bonds, with Indians and Pakistanis the biggest of savers (20 per cent of all minors). The increase has been attributed to the attractive returns offered by the scheme through the prizes being won by these savers and the annual profits being distributed that are continuously above the market average for similar savings schemes in the region - further proof of the long term rewards of savings. By the end of February 2012, National Bonds’ total customer base had crossed the 660,000 customer mark, with almost 7,000 new customers joining since the beginning of the year. To date, it has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of all groups of bondholders through its loyalty program of prizes and rewards with over one million prizes distributed worth over Dh310 million. Although the minimum age for purchase of National Bonds is 18, parents or guardians can purchase bonds on behalf of their children.