Millionaires in Asia overtake Europe

Millionaires in Asia overtake Europe

FT.com / Global Economy


By Alice Ross
Published: June 22 2011 15:50 | Last updated: June 22 2011 15:50
A visitor looks at Chinese security personnel as she walks into a hall for the Top Essence luxury goods show
A visitor looks at Chinese security personnel as she walks into a hall for the Top Essence luxury goods show in Beijing

Millionaires across the world are now richer than they were before the financial crisis, the latest sign that the wealthy have weathered the downturn far better than other groups.
Global wealth among individuals with $1m of investable assets or more rose to $42,700bn in 2010, up from $40,700bn in 2007, according to the Merrill Lynch Cap Gemini World Wealth Report.
Rising equity markets and Asian growth helped expand the fortunes of the global elite, with the number of Asian millionaires now exceeding that of Europe.
There were 3.3m millionaires in Asia-Pacific at the end of 2010, compared to 3.4m in the US and just 3.1m in Europe, the report found. There were 3m millionaires in both Europe and Asia at the end of 2009.
Strong stock markets last year were a key driver of the gains, with global equities rising 18 per cent on average, according to the report.
“The performance in many markets helped to contribute to the growth in wealth in 2010,” the report stated. “Equity and other asset classes rose in value, though not at the exuberant pace of 2009’s bounce-back.”
The countries with the most millionaires in the world remain the US, Japan and Germany respectively, with China and the UK in fourth and fifth place respectively. China now has 535,000 millionaires, according to the report, only about a sixth of those in the US.
The report also found that 83 per cent of the world’s global millionaires were over 45 years old and 73 per cent were male.
The report, one of the most comprehensive annual pieces of research into the world’s wealthiest individuals, indicates that millionaires in European countries with high levels of debt and sluggish economic growth are struggling to keep pace with their Asian peers.
Italy’s number of millionaires fell by 4.7 per cent in 2010, making it the only country in the study to record a drop. Spain fell down the league table from 12th to 14th place.
The ranks of millionaires in the UK showed an increase of only 1.4 per cent last year, compared to a 23.8 per cent rise in 2009. In contrast, the number of millionaires in the US grew by 8.3 per cent in 2010.
Adam Horowitz, head of UK, Ireland and Israel at Merrill Lynch Wealth Managers, said the contrast was likely to be due to differences between wealthy investors in the UK, where more people buy property, and the US, where people are more highly invested in equity markets.
The world’s millionaires also multiplied at a slower pace in 2010 than they did during the bounce back in equity markets in 2009, the report shows. The number of global millionaires rose by 8.3 per cent last year, down from a 17.1 per cent increase the previous year

FT.com / Global Economy – Millionaires in Asia overtake Europe

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