Ultra high net worth individuals have been the biggest losers as an unprecedented decline in the number and wealth of the world's richest people has wiped out much of the wealth gained in the past three years, according to the 2009 World Wealth Report.
The number of ultra high net worth individuals fell 24.6% in the last year, while their wealth dropped by 23.9%, sinking below 2005 levels. The report also showed wealth is still concentrated in very specific regions, namely North America, Asia and Europe, but China's high net worth population rose significantly causing it to overtake the UK as the fourth largest in the world.
Bertrand Lavayssiere, managing director of Global Financial Services at Capgemini, said: "After a year of significant volatility, we're seeing a shift in HNWI activity and priorities. There are currently opportunities for wealth management firms and advisors to effectively address increased client concerns by helping to navigate through the uncertain economic times and build relationships that will continue well into the future."
However, the news was not all negative as growth is expected to resume as the world economy recovers, and wealth is expected to grow to $48.5 trillion by 2013.
The report attempts to better understand the key trends that affect high net worth individuals around the world by analysing the factors that drive wealth creation. It also focuses on specific opportunities for wealth management firms and advisors to better serve the ultra high net worth community.
Further analysis of the report and what it means for family businesses will be in the next edition of Campden FO.