Where the most millionaires are being minted around the world

By | septiembre 28, 2017
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The rich are, predictably, getting richer.

Both the number of people with investable assets of at least $1 million in US dollars and the total wealth that represents are expanding around the globe, according to World Wealth Report 2017 from Capgemini.

A record year for the world’s richest

Gina Rinehart was one of many billionaires who saw their fortunes increase dramatically in the last 12 months according to Forbes magazine.

By 2025, the consulting and technology services company predicts, assets held by high-net-worth investors will exceed $US100 trillion ($128 trillion), up from $US63.5 trillion in 2016.

Sadly, even the very wealthy suffer from income inequality.

While the ranks of the millionaire next door, with $US1 million to $US5 million in investable assets, increased by 7.4 per cent, the number of people in the top 1 per cent of the high-net-worth world – those with at least $US30 million in investable assets – grew by 8.3 per cent.

The report found big leaps in the ranks of millionaires in North America and Europe, where wealthy populations grew 7.8 per cent and 7.7 per cent. That was an acceleration from 2 per cent and 5 per cent in 2015.

Growth slowed slightly in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan), home to the most millionaires, slipping to 7.4 per cent from 9 per cent.

Gains in stocks, which investors cited as their largest asset class, helped fuel Russia’s 19.7 per cent growth in the number of rich investors last year. That’s a turnaround from a 1.8 per cent decline in 2015. At the same time, the pool of Russian millionaires, at 182,000, is relatively small.

Brazil also rebounded in 2016, with a 10.7 per cent rise in millionaire investors after a 7.8 per cent drop in 2015. There, the ultra-rich hold some 87 per cent of all the wealth held by wealthy investors.

The high-net-worth population of the US grew 8 per cent last year.

Share gains

Stock markets fuelled gains for well-heeled investors in much of the world last year, though their portfolios aren’t overwhelmingly in stocks.

On average, high-net-worth investors had just over 31.1 per cent in stocks in 2017’s second quarter, up from 24.8 per cent at the end of 2016, and a five-year high. Equities were cited by more than 90 per cent of investors as «an important or the most important contributor to their investment performance».

The next-highest chunk of assets is sitting in cash and cash equivalents, at 27.3 per cent. That’s an increase from 2016’s 23.5 per cent.

Real estate shrank to 14 per cent of the average portfolio, from about 18 per cent in 2016. Stakes in alternative assets such as hedge funds, commodities, and private equity took a deep dive.

Ultra rich pull ahead

What sort of returns are these investors getting on their accounts with wealth managers?

The self-reported estimate, before fees, comes out to an average of 24.3 per cent globally.

The overall group’s aggregate wealth grew by 8.2 per cent, more than double 2015’s growth rate. Again, there’s no keeping up with the Croesuses: the wealth of the ultra-rich grew by 9.2 per cent, while the millionaire-next-door crowd saw assets grow 7.5 per cent.

All those gains add up to 16.5 million people with at least $US1 million in investable assets around the globe, holding that $US63.5 trillion in wealth, up from 10.9 million high-net-worth investors in 2010 with combined assets of $US42.7 trillion.

Fee pressure

Investors had high levels of trust and confidence in their wealth managers, yet the report characterised their satisfaction rates as «tepid», perhaps because of fees.

Average fees paid in 2016, based on investor estimates, were $US65,795, or an average of 8.4 per cent of assets under management.

The report noted that some customer segments pay far less than that. Traditional wealth management firms are expensive compared to the robo-advisers, some of which are offering sophisticated services such as optimising portfolios for taxes.

«We’re seeing a lot more margin pressure [among wealth managers] and a lot of fee pressure now,» said Bill Sullivan, global head of financial services market intelligence at Capgemini.

«The reality is that while you can have different views about robo-advisers, when you see the small fees they are charging it starts to commoditise some basic investment areas.»

Traditional wealth managers needed to rejig their business models and their fees, fast, before any formidable competitors stepped into the breach, the report said.


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