Global Wealth Soars To $135 Trillion

Global private wealth increased by 7.8% to a massive $135.5 trillion in 2012 – following a trend set by the previous two years.

In 2010, the amount grew by 3.6%, and then the rate of growth doubled in 2011 to 7.3%, before slowing again last year.

By region, the figures were:

  • North America 7.8%
  • Western Europe 5.2%
  • Japan 2.4%
  • Asia-Pacific ex Japan 13.8%
  • Eastern Europe 13.2%
  • Latin America 10.5%
  • Middle East and Africa (MENA) 9.1%

According to the study, by The Boston Consulting Group, ‘new world’ regions will generate 70% of the growth in global wealth over the next five years.

Millionaire households

The total number of millionaire households hit 13.8 million worldwide.

The numbers break down as:

  • US – 5.9 million, followed by
  • Japan – 1.5 million
  • China – 1.3 million

The country with the highest number of millionaires per head of population was the tiny Gulf state of Qatar, where 143 out of every 1,000 households are millionaires.

Switzerland (116), Kuwait (115), Hong Kong (94) and Singapore (82) also had high numbers of millionaire households.

The largest numbers of billionaires live in Hong Kong – 15 for every million households – and Switzerland with nine for every million households.

Despite efforts by governments around the world to curtail secret offshore investments, the amount of assets held in offshore financial centres increased 6.1% to an estimated $8.5 trillion. Offshore wealth is expected to fall as tax initiatives like the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in the US start to take effect.

Wealth management changes

“The wealth management industry has become more complicated over recent years as new factors begin to influence who has the money and where they are,” said Brent Beardsley of The Boston Consulting Group.

“There is an ebb and flow between the old world and the new, moving at different speeds. Managing wealth has its problems in each region, and they are not the same problems for everyone.”

The study benchmarked the performance of wealth management companies around the world.

Taking a global average, wealth managers achieved 13 % growth in assets under management in 2012.

But the picture was very different by regions. The Asia-Pacific saw growth of 23%, followed by 18% in Latin America.

The European Union and North America returned a performance of 10%.

“Maintaining momentum and continuing growth at the current rates will be hard for wealth managers,” said the report. “They must find new ways to cut costs and create assets, which will be hard as regulators seek to tighten up financial systems.”

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