Asia-Pacific continues to be the global leader in ultra-high net worth (UHNW) population growth despite flatlining growth worldwide and China’s economic slowdown.
The region incorporating Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand achieved a 3.9% population rise as the ultra wealthy continued to benefit from business expansion and economic growth rates that still surpass those in the west, according to the new World Ultra Wealth Report by Wealth-X.
The findings corresponded with the latest Global Family Office Report, published earlier this month, which found the composite global portfolio of family offices returned a disappointing 0.3 percent in 2015, after returning 8.5% in 2013 and 6.1% in 2014.
Most principal Asian cities saw double-digit percentage growth in their ultra-wealthy population, as have Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil, the report added.
“Entrepreneurs and business owners continue to benefit from infrastructure development, urbanisation and rising consumption,” it said.
“Likewise, in the Americas, it was Latin America, rather than North America, that helped the region achieve a modest 1.5% growth in ultra wealth value.”
However, in 2015, the world’s ultra wealthy population experienced almost flat growth as the number of individuals with $30 million or more in net assets grew just 0.6% and total UHNW wealth increased by 0.8%.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw ultra wealth fall 2.4% as equity markets, local currencies and gross domestic product (GDP) collectively experienced negative net returns.
New York, London and Tokyo remained the top ultra wealthy cities and together are the chosen homes for one in 10 of the world’s UHNW population but all top five cities saw their UHNW population decline last year due to flat and declining asset values.
The female UHNW population remained steady at 13% yet their share of total UHNW wealth fell from 14% to 11%. Average female high net worth wealth dropped from $147 million to $126.3 million.
“This reflects a higher reliance on inherited wealth and a greater allocation to cash, which proved a drag on returns in an ultra low interest rate environment,” the report said.
“Male wealth rose 2.4% from $139.8 million to $143.1 million, reflecting a greater focus on self-made wealth and a higher-risk asset composition.”