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Rich in Greece and Spain see significant wealth drop

By Michael Finnigan

Wealthy Spaniards and Greeks have felt the pinch from the economic crisis with the average ultra-high net worth individual in each country losing around a quarter of their wealth since 2007, according to new research.

However, the inaugural Julius Baer Wealth Report Europe found that the experiences of Europe's most wealthy has varied substantially from country to country, with the net private wealth in Switzerland and Germany rising €1 trillion and €2 trillion respectively from pre-crisis levels.

Overall, Europe's total net wealth sits at €56 trillion, the report says, up 1.7% on the previous year and exceeding pre-crisis levels.

Two-thirds of European wealth is in a small collection of countries – Germany, United Kingdom, France and Italy.

But in Spain wealth has dropped by 28% since 2007, and in Greece 23%, equating to a loss of €1.4 trillion and €169 billion respectively.

Robert Ruttmann, director at Julius Baer and co-author of the report, said family businesses are well positioned to grow their own wealth and play a role in driving economic growth.

“As long as capital returns exceed economic growth rates in Europe, European families owning capital are set to gain a larger slice of Europe's consistently expanding wealth cake,” Ruttmann said.

The results could have knock-on effects for the demand and price of luxury goods, according to Ruttmann. He says the average price of expensive wines, designer handbags and sports cars have nearly doubled since 2004 and are currently rising at nearly twice the rate of inflation.

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