NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Wealthy investors across the globe lost US$2.9 trillion in 2001, pushing 2.3 million people out of the wealthy category, according to a recent survey.

Household assets among the wealthy fell to US$63.6 billion in 2001 from US$66.5 trillion in 2000, according to a survey of more than 60 wealth managers conducted by Boston Consulting Group. In addition, the ranks of the wealthy–defined as those with US$250,000 in investable assets–fell to 36.6 million households globally from 38.9 million the year before.

As a result of the fall in assets, profits at wealth management firms also fell, Boston Consulting says. Much of that fall resulted from a drop in trading commission revenues, because wealthy investors are holding their stocks longer than they used to.

Nevertheless, wealth management is expected to be a growth business moving forward. And alternative investing, hedge funds in particularly, was cited as a key part of wealth managers’ strategy for success. Hedge funds fell into the magical category of offering high fees and high growth, besting private equity and consulting wrap fee programs, looking at data from 1997 to 2000. As a result hedge funds can be used to help stabilize and broaden revenues, Boston Consulting says.