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For first time, U.S. is no longer No.1 for super-rich

Staff writer |
The wealth of high net worth individuals in the Asia-Pacific grew by 10% or almost five times North America’s 2% growth for high net worth individuals (HNWI) last year.

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This is according to the World Wealth Report released by Capgemini. There was a big drop from North America’s 9% HNWI growth rate the year before, dragged down by poor performance of U.S. and Canadian equities.

The World Wealth Report covers 71 countries, accounting for more than 98% of global gross national income and 99% of world stock market capitalization.

The Asia-Pacific region has 5.1 million HNWIs, compared to North America’s 4.8 million, but for the firs time has also pulled ahead in terms of wealth. The region has $17.4 trillion held by HNWIs versus $16.6 trillion in North America and $13.6 trillion in Europe.

The global figure is projected to surpass $100 trillion by 2025 — nearly triple the amount in 2006 — if the growth rates of the last decade continue, propelled predominantly by Asia-Pacific countries.

Japan and China drove close to 60% of the global HNWI population growth in 2015. HNWIs are defined as those having investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding primary residence and other consumer goods.

The number of billionaires has also surged in recent years. The Asia-Pacific region had 590 billionaires, the U.S. had more than 540 billionaires and Europe had 489 billionaires, according to the 2016 Forbes Billionaires List.

This year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires fell slightly from a record high last year due to volatile stock markets, rock bottom oil prices and a strong U.S. dollar, the report said.

Forbes’s 30th annual guide to the world’s richest people identified 1,810 billionaires in 2016, down from a record 1,826 billionaires in 2015. Their aggregate net worth also dropped by $570 billion to $6.48 trillion in 2016.

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