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  1. Wealth
September 11, 2013

Wealth and number of super-rich hit record, but China falls

By Spear's

The super-wealthy got $2 trillion richer in the past twelve months and increased their numbers by 12,000, a new report has found

The super-wealthy got $2 trillion richer in the past twelve months and increased their numbers by 12,000, a new report has found. Surprisingly, the number of UHNWs in China, soon to have the world’s largest GDP, actually fell.

According to the Wealth-X/UBS World Ultra Wealth Report 2013, the number of UHNWs across the world rose by 6.3 per cent to 199,235, from 187,380 the year before. Their combined fortune was of $27.8 trillion, a 7.7 per cent increase on $25.8 trillion in 2012 (and equivalent to 40 per cent of the world’s GDP). Both are all-time records.

This was mostly thanks to the performance of equity markets in North America and Europe – together, these two regions added 10,000 UHNWs and $1.5 trillion. But, according to the study, Asia will soon catch up, as the region is expected to generate more UHNWs and wealth than both Europe and North America in the next five years, overtaking Europe by 2017 and the US by 2024.

However, China’s economic slowdown, credit crunch and tighter government controls on luxury spending meant its UHNW population fell by 5.1 per cent to 10,675 and its UHNW wealth by 4.1 per cent to $1.5 trillion. The report suggests that some of this wealth is in fact being moved to Hong Kong to escape local pressures.

Read more: HNWs hold $46 trillion in wealth

Interestingly, the research found that there is a one per cent within the one per cent. According to the study, in fact, there were 2,170 billionaires worldwide, representing one per cent of the UHNW population, who controlled a total net worth of $6.5 trillion (23 per cent of UHNW wealth).

Continental drift

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The number of wealthy individuals grew in every continent, apart from Latin America, where it declined by 4.1 per cent; Brazil, as the continent’s largest economy, dragged down the whole region with its slowdown. A notable example is Eike Batista, the Brazilian entrepreneur who was worth $30 billion in early 2012 and whose fortune has taken a nosedive since, falling to less than $900 million today, according to Forbes.

UHNWs in the Middle East fared well, growing their wealth by 23.9 per cent in the past twelve months, faster than in any other region in the world.

Read more: Property investment popular for HNWs

In the UK, both the UHNW population and its wealth increased by 3.8 per cent to 10,910 individuals and $1.4 trillion respectively. London, however, grew faster, with the number of the ultra-wealthy rising by 5.7 per cent to 6,360. The number of billionaires declines, however, by 3.6 per cent to 135.

Gender divide

Self-made individuals represented 65 per cent of the total UHNW population worldwide, compared to nineteen per cent of those who inherited their fortune.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost nine out of ten UHNWs worldwide are men, the report also found. They tended to have more senior position roles than their women counterparts, with the most common titles among men being CEO (21.9 per cent) and chairman (14.2 per cent), compared to shareholder (14.6 per cent) and director (12.2 per cent) for women.

But ultra-wealthy women tended to be slightly richer and younger than their male counterparts, with an average fortune of $150 million and an average age of 54 years old, compared to $138 million and 58 years old for men.

And if you’re planning on marrying a millionaire, according to the study you’ve better chances pursuing a woman than a man, as eleven per cent of the wealthy women surveyed were either single or divorced, compared to only five per cent of the men.

Read more on UHNWs from Spear’s

Read more from Wealth Wednesday



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