Peak Global Wealth: There are Now 16.5 Million Individuals Worth $63.5 Trillion in Total
There are more high net worth people in the world than ever, with Sweden leading the growth.
According to Sophie Christie at the Telegraph UK, there are presently more high net worth people in the world than ever with the world’s richest individuals up by 7.5%, bringing the total numbers of the world’s wealthiest to 16.5 million persons. High net worth individuals, defined by assets (excluding place of residence) of over $1 million, were said to have had their ranks swell by an extra 1.15 million people, rose on the backs of a booming stock market.
More High Net Worth People in the World Than Ever: 16.5m individuals worth a total of $63.5 trillion
Collectively, these 16.5 million high net worth individuals have assets totalling $63.5 trillion dollars. Impressively, it’s not just the number of wealthy individuals which have increased, their assets and wealth have also risen 8.2% in 2016, double that of 2015. If rate of wealth accumulation holds, these high net worth individuals will eventually exceed $100 trillion worth of assets collectively by 2025.
The Capgemini World Wealth Report 2017 finds the biggest leaps in high wealth individuals came from three regions- North America, Europe and Asia, with each market growing by an average 7.5% last year with wealth gains above 8%. That said, while growth of HWNI remained healthy even in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), it actually slipped from 9%, not a concern, more a reflection as developing economies (where opportunities for wealth are more abundant) become developed economies. Overall, the United States continues to be the nation with the most number of millionaires in the world, followed by Japan, Germany and China with France pipping the United Kingdom to take fifth place.
Meanwhile, Russia and emerging market, Brazil, have recorded double-digit increases in both their population of wealthy individuals and their assets, after slightly more than a year of declines since 2015. According to Bloomberg, millionaires are multiplying the fastest in Indonesia, Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, Sweden, Taiwan and Canada with France following just Brazil, leading them to edge UK out of the top 5 countries with the most millionaires.
How the World’s Richest are Becoming Richer
Stock market equities were the largest and fastest growing asset class, responsible for Russia hitting double digit HWNI growth figures. On average, most HWNI had wealth portfolios with over 31.1% in stocks, up 24.8% from 2016; 2017 marks a five year high. After stocks, HWNIs hold 27.3% of their wealth in liquid assets while real estate holdings have lost their lustre, shrinking to 14% of their wealth portfolios, down from 18%. That said, exemplifying the “money makes money” maxim, astute Fund Managers played a major role in helping the world’s richest generate more wealth.
Interestingly, with rising fees and costs to a tune of average 8.4% of investments going to fund managers, savvy wealthy individuals are beginning to turn to robo-advisors which have begun to offer services like tax-optimised portfolios at lower rates than traditional fund management firms – prompting Capgemini to issue an advisory that Fund Management Firms improve customer service levels or risk losing business to BigTech – Capgemini surveys place 56% of HWNIs polled willing to explore using financial management services from tech firms. Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, already offers such services in Asia.
Ironically, wealth inequality is also no longer an issue of top 1% versus the 99%, within the world of HWNIs, wealth tiers are also increasingly stratified: there are 157,200 in the ultra-high net worth bracket, that is to say, uber-rich with assets of more than $30 million, rising 8.3% in 2016, double that of growth in 2015.
Words by Jonathan Ho.