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Individual wealth 'grows faster than family fortunes?

By Attracta Mooney

The fortunes of self-made billionaires are growing at a faster rate than the wealth of those who inherited their wealth.

That’s according to research by Societe Generale Private Banking and Forbes Insights, which found that, between 2008 and 2011, self-made billionaires saw their fortunes increase by 9%.

This contrasted with a rate of just 2% for those classed as “inherited and growing” – people who inherited wealth and were active in growing it, such as through working in family businesses.

People who inherited their wealth, but were not classed as active, saw their fortunes grow by 5%.

According to the research, which looked at 1,253 of the world’s largest fortunes in 12 countries across the world, there was a higher concentration of “inherited and growing” individuals in mature markets (17%), compared to emerging markets (12%).

Speaking at a press conference in London on 28 March, Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer at Forbes Media, said businesses were the primary source of wealth for the majority of the super-rich examined. In mature markets, families were still involved in the business in over half of the cases, while this figure was 61% in emerging markets.

The highest percentage of family-run firms were found in Hong Kong, India and the Middle Eastern countries of Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Aarbia and the United Arab Emirates, while France was the European country where “fortunes [were] the most family-minded".

In contrast, the UK showed an “entrepreneurial spirit”, with the highest percentage of individually managed fortunes (75%), said Societe Generale.