Super-rich numbers top 500k as wealthiest prosper

Despite mounting global geopolitical uncertainty in 2019, the number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) with assets of more than $30m (£26.5m) rose by 6.4%

Globally, more than 31,000 ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) were created in 2019, bringing the total to 513,244. Currently, North America dominates with 240,575 super-rich individuals, more than double the super-rich population of Europe, according to a report by Knight Frank.

China comes second, with 61,587, followed by Germany (23,078), France (18,776) and Japan (17,013). The UK is ranked sixth on the list, with 14,367.

Asia is quickly closing the gap on Europe and Knight Frank figures predict that by 2024 it will be the world’s second largest wealth hub, with forecast five-year growth of 44% from its current count of 103,335.

Overall the property consultancy predicts the world’s UHNWI population will increase by 27% in the next five years to hit 649,331.

Asia’s forecast five-year super-rich growth is double North America’s projected rate, with high growth expected in India (+73%), China (+58%) and Indonesia (+57%).

However, even following this steep rise Asia’s UHNWI cohort will still only be half the size of North America’s, which is forecast to grow by 22% over the same period.

Of the top 20 fastest growing countries measured, six are located in Asia (led by India with 73% growth), five are in Europe (led by Sweden with 47% growth) and three are in Africa (led by Egypt with 66% growth).

The consultancy says the expansion in wealth during 2019 is unsurprising, given the strong growth seen in many asset classes.

On average 23% of UHNWI investment portfolios are made up of equities, and strong performance in the German, US and Australia markets helped boost wealth, while residential property accounts for almost a third of total super-rich wealth.

However, Knight Frank predicts the changing geopolitical and regulatory environment, and shifting social attitudes to wealth, means there should be a reassessment of what it means to be wealthy.

It identifies a number of emerging trends in residential property development and wellness, suggesting UHNWIs are looking at issues around sustainability.

Some of the trends discussed include creating private boreholes, services used to monitor air quality control and creating a sense of community in developments.

Wealth Report 2020

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