Asia private wealth continues to grow

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Asian countries will see the biggest growth in UHNWIs over the next five years, according to the latest Knight Frank annual wealth report.

The UK property company expects Asia UHNWI numbers to rise 23% by the end of 2023, compared with 18% in North America. The region hosts eight of the top ten countries with the fastest growing UHNWI populations.

India will see the greatest increase with 39% growth, followed by the Philippines (38%) and China (35%). Of the 59 countries and territories analysed in its 2019 wealth report, Knight Frank says eight of the top ten by future growth are in Asia.

Ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) are people with a net worth of over $30m excluding their primary residence. High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) have a mere $1m.

Asia’s increasing number of rich individuals and families has prompted global private banks and wealth managers to build resources in the region during the past decade.

Asia's billionaire population is expected to account for one-third of the world's total by 2023

In contrast to North America, where financial assets are the major driver of wealth accumulation, in Asia property prices account for increasing riches, the report said.

However, some of these countries are starting from a low base.

For example, the Philippines is forecast to have 296 UHNWIs by 2023, less than 2% of the ultra-wealthy population of Japan, the biggest Asian wealth hub with 20,570.

Asia’s billionaires rising

Nevertheless, Asia is also the biggest hub for billionaires. The numbers are set to rise above 1,000 by 2023, accounting for at least one-third of the world’s billionaire population of 2,696.

Although London and New York host the most UHNWIs, “Asia’s growing prominence is confirmed, with Hong Kong and Singapore taking third and fourth positions respectively. Overall, the number of slots in our top 20 occupied by cities in the Asia-Pacific region rises to seven,” the report said.

China has seen a sharp rise in the number of billionaires in the last five years, but growth looks set to moderate in the medium term as the economy slows – and perhaps due to persistent anti-corruption drives.

The country overtook Japan with respect to total wealth in 2011 and the number of millionaires in 2014, according to the Credit Suisse “Global Wealth Report, 2018”.

However, their data showed that mean wealth per adult in China ($47,810 in mid-2018) remained far below the level in Japan ($227,240).

Credit Suisse also found that the US accounted for by far the biggest number of new millionaires in the 12 months to mid-2018: 878,000 or 40% of the global increase, compared with 186,000 more in China.

Knight Frank predicts that the global UHNWI population will rise by 22% over the next five years, meaning an extra 43,000 people will be worth more than $30 million by 2023.

“Despite a darkening economic outlook, wealth creation will remain a constant in 2019,” it concludes.

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