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Global ultra-wealthy population grows in 2016, despite political and economic uncertainty

The number of Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) - those with €28m ($30m) or more in net assets – rose by 6,340 in 2016, taking the total to 193,490, according to data provided by New World Wealth for The Wealth Report. This growth reverses the decline of 3% seen in 2015. The increase has occurred despite ongoing political and economic uncertainty around the world having more of an impact on future trends.
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Knight Frank LLP


Grainne Gilmore, Head of UK Residential Research, Knight Frank, comments: “The momentum gained in wealth creation in 2016, although relatively modest, was far from being a foregone conclusion, especially given that nearly three-quarters of respondents to our Attitudes Survey highlighted political uncertainty as a significant threat to their clients’ availability to create and preserve wealth.”

Whilst a clearer economic outlook for the UK and the US will be provided in the next 12-24 months, the report notes that in Europe, the UK will remain the front-runner in terms of its ultra-wealthy population, with a forecast 30% rise in UHNWIs over the next decade.

The USA is expected to see a higher rate of growth in its UHNWI population in the next 10 years than many other developed countries, despite the uncertainty surrounding the new President’s policies.

Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, comments on factors that have continued to bolster wealth growth despite growing political and economic uncertainty: “One key influence on income in 2016 has been the performance of stock markets in dollar terms. In many countries this was much stronger in 2016 than in 2015. There may be widespread uncertainty, but there are also strong fundamentals in many economies, with signs of real progress being made around regulation and policy which will help economic growth to flourish in some places.”

While the global population of UHNWIs is set to rise by 43% by 2026, The Wealth Report reveals considerable variation in growth rates in different regions and countries.
- Vietnam, having seen the biggest growth in its ultra-wealth population over the last decade, is expected to see the fastest growth in it UHNWI population by 2026, with a 170% increase in people with €28m ($30m) or more, taking the total to 540. The number of millionaires is predicted to jump from 14,300 to 38,500 over the same period.
- Asia is starting to challenge the USA in terms of the largest regional population of UHNWIs. At present, Asia is home to 27,020 fewer ultra-wealthy people than the US, but by 2026, this difference will have shrunk to just 7,068.
- Asia is also set to strongly outperform Europe in terms of the rate of growth of UHNWIs over the next 10 years, with a 91% increase predicted, compared with 12% in Europe.
- The growth in ultra-wealthy populations in Africa and Latin America will outpace that of Europe and North America over the next decade. Hotspots for growth include Mauritius, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Mexico and Argentina.
- Countries that offer a fiscal and political ‘safe haven’, as well as excellent quality of life, are expected to see strong growth over the next decade in UHNWI populations and saw their numbers increase in 2016. Australasia, Canada, Malta, the UAE, Qatar, Monaco and Israel are examples of key ‘safe havens’ attracting migrating UHNWIs.