If you are UAE citizen, resident or a non-resident foreign investor, you can subscribe to a initial public offering (IPO) listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) or Dubai Financial Market (DFM), if you have an investor number. Picture used for illustrative purpses. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: The first Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 2024 is about to be launched in March, with Parkin, the Dubai headquartered parking space operator, opening subscriptions from March 5 until March 12.

Last year, the Adnoc Logistics and Services initial public offering (IPO) sold out in minutes when it opened its listing on in May. From Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), Tecom Group and Salik to Borouge, Fortiglobe and AD Ports, there are several public sector companies that you can currently invest in.

But if you want to take advantage of the IPO market boom happening in the UAE, you will first need a National Investor Number (NIN), which is issued by Abu Dhabi Exchange (ADX) and Dubai Financial Market (DFM).

Applying for an investor number can be done online and is issued within minutes. Here is all you need to know.

What is an IPO?
According to a recent Gulf News article, an IPO, or initial public offering, is the process by which a company offers its shares of stock to the public for the first time. As a rule, a company applying to go public is required to submit an ‘IPO prospectus’ as part of disclosure to regulators.

According to Investopedia, a prospectus is a document that provides details about an investment offering to the public. This helps investors make informed decisions about the IPO.


What is a NIN (National Investor Number)?

Whether you are a UAE resident or a non-resident foreign investor, as long as you have a NIN or investor number, you can subscribe to an IPO.

This is an identification number for investors and is issued free of charge.

For IPOs listed on Abu Dhabi’s stock exchange, the number will be issued by ADX for investors. According to ADX, “through this number, all transactions on the Exchange can be initiated including clearing, settlement, and trading transactions”.

For Dubai, the investor number is required for subscribing to an IPO of a company on DFM. It is issued by Dubai Central Securities Depository (CSD) at DFM.

How do I apply for a National Investor Number (NIN)?

Depending on where the IPO is listed, you will need to apply for a NIN under that relevant authority. For example, if you are interested in subscribing to ADNOC’s IPO, you need to get an NIN issued by ADX.

Here’s how.

For ADX:

You can apply for the issuance of an NIN through one of the following platforms:

• ‘Sahmi’ app, the official ADX app, for Emirates ID card holders with a UAE Pass account. The app is available for Apple and Android devices.
• ADX accredited brokerage firms – you can find the brokers directory for ADX, here: https://www.adx.ae/english/pages/marketparticipants/brokers/brokers-directory.aspx
• ADX customer service in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah.

Required documents:

For individuals applying for NIN, these are the documents they need to submit:

• For UAE citizens and residents: Original Emirates ID card.
• Non-resident foreigners: Passport and national ID card.
• International Bank Account Number (IBAN) letter, providing that the bank account is solely in the name of the applicant and not a joint bank account.

According to ADX, if the document is issued outside the UAE, it must be notarised and authenticated:
• The UAE embassy in the country that issued the document
• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country that issued the document
• The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC)

How to get NIN (National Investor Number) for ADX online:

If you are a UAE citizen or resident, getting an investor number is a straightforward process, and you do not need to provide or upload any documents. All you need is a UAE Pass account.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Register on the Sahmi app

• Download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
• Select your language – Arabic or English, and sign in with your UAE Pass account.
• Next, you will be informed that your UAE Pass and ADX profile are now linked. Tap ‘Proceed’.
• You will then see an overview of your details such as full name, Emirates ID number, email address and mobile number. Tap ‘Register’.

Step 2: Apply for an investor number

• Tap on ‘my Services’ on the app’s homepage and click on ‘Issue Investor Number’.
• Verify your details and tap ‘Next’.
• Enter your address information. Select the Emirate you reside in, and enter your PO Box number. If you don’t have a personal P.O. Box number you can type ‘0000’ and tap on ‘Next’.
• Enter your bank information. You must select your account type – Swift or IBAN.
• Select the bank name, which is licensed by the UAE Central Bank.
• If you select the IBAN option, enter your IBAN and your full name as per bank records.
• Upload a letter from the bank clearly showing the account details.
• Tap, ‘Validate IBAN’.
• If you select Swift, enter the account number and full name as per bank records.
• Tap ‘Next’.

The investor number will then be officially issued. You can then go ahead and subscribe to IPOs, using this number.

Where can I subscribe to IPOs listed on ADX?

1. Online, through the eIPO Investor Portal - https://www.adx.ae/English/Pages/ProductsandServices/ipo.aspx .

2. Through designated banks for the IPO - Alternatively, you can also subscribe through your bank, if it is one of the ‘receiving banks’ in the IPO. However, for this, you must contact your bank to find out if they are participating in the IPO subscription.

For DFM:

An active DFM investor number is required for all subscription methods. Here are the ways you can get an investor number:

• DFM App – the NIN is issued instantly. The app is available for Apple and Android devices.
• Through the eServices at www.dfm.ae – it takes one working day for the NIN to be issued.
• Dubai CSD Desk at DFM trading floor - the NIN is issued instantly.
• Licensed Brokerage Firms at DFM – it takes one working day for the NIN to be issued. You can find the brokers’ directory for DFM, through this link: https://www.dfm.ae/en/members/brokers-directory

How to get NIN (National Investor Number) through the DFM app

Registering for an investor number for the Dubai stock exchange only takes a few steps on the app, and the number is issued within a few minutes:

Step 1: Register on the DFM app

• Download the DFM app from Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
• Sign in with your UAE Pass or create an account on the DFM app. If you sign in with UAE Pass, all you have to do is verify your contact details and enter the verification code sent to your mobile number and email address.

To create an account, select ‘No’, if you do not have an NIN number. Enter your name, email address and mobile number and create a password. Tap on ‘Create an Account’.

Enter the verification code sent to your mobile number and email address.

Step 2: Apply for an investor number

• Once you have logged in, tap the ‘More’ section on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen.
• Tap ‘Apply for a DFM Investor Number (NIN)’.
• Scan your Emirates ID if you are a UAE citizen or resident. If you are a non-resident foreign investor, scan your passport.
• Take a photo of yourself using your phone’s front-facing camera.

Step 3: Choose your preferred method to receive cash dividends

Choose how you want to receive your cash dividends – through a bank account or an ‘iVESTOR Card’, which is a special card issued by DFM to subscribe to IPOs. You will receive the dividends directly into the card.

If you choose ‘bank account’, you must provide your bank details and a letter from the bank clearly showing the account details under your name.

Once that’s done you will instantly receive your NIN via SMS on your registered number.

Three ways to subscribe to an IPO listed on DFM

1. DFM Mobile App
2. IPO Subscription Platform
3. Receiving Banks – you also have the option to subscribe to your bank directly, however, you will have to check with your bank if they are participating in the IPO.

For a detailed guide on how to subscribe to IPOs, once you have the NIN number, click here.