The world’s richest people are getting richer – and their fortunes increased by 10% last year alone, according to the latest World Wealth Report.
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The report reckons the world is richer than ever before – and the wealthiest are worth a combined US$46 trillion.
What is even more remarkable is the turnaround in fortunes after the money belonging to high net worth individuals slipped back 1.7% in 2011.
Another million people joined the world rich list of high net worth individuals in 2012, said Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, who compiled the report.
Now, 12 million people are on the rich list, which is a 9.2% increase over 2011.
Wafer thin gap
The researchers define high net worth individuals as those with at least $1 million of cash to invest after deducting their main home, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables from their personal inventory.
The report also discusses ultra high net worth individuals, who have $30 million or more free to invest.
North America regained the crown as the region with the highest number of wealthy individuals after dropping to second place behind the Asia-Pacific in the previous year.
But the two regions are still vying for first place as the 3.73 million high net worth individuals in North America outnumber those in the Asia-Pacific by only 50,000.
The amount of money held by both was close as well – $12.7 trillion in North America against $12 trillion in the Asia-Pacific.
Capgemini spokesman Jean Lassignardie predicted that North America will lose the lead to the Asia-Pacific again in numbers of wealthy individuals and the cash they hold.
“Swapping places looks inevitable,” he said. “Although North America tops the table on both counts, the number of high net worth individuals is growing at a faster rate in the Asia-Pacific – 12.2% to North America’s 11.7%.”
The report also points out that tightening global legislation for wealth managers is changing the way firms deal with clients and the way clients invest.
The new regulations have brought more transparency, which allows wealthy investors to expose the fees they are paying for services and to receive timelier reporting.
This allows them to see if their wealth managers are offering value for money and gives quicker and more relevant information for making investment decisions.
“Many of these new rules target client protection,” says the report. “The new regulations tell firms how to deal with their clients, what information to make available and how to present it.”
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