The recession and markets crisis has had a significant impact on the world’s wealthy, reducing the number of high-net-worth individuals (those with investable assets of at least $1 million) by 14.9% to 8.6 million from year-end 2007 to year-end 2008, while the aggregate value of their assets fell 19.5% to $32.8 trillion. For the ultra-HNW (those with at least $30 million in financial assets) the declines were even steeper: the overall number of UHNW individuals fell 24.6% to 78,000, while their aggregate wealth fell 23.9%. At year-end 2007, by contrast, there were 10.1 million HNW individuals with total wealth of $40.7 trillion.
Among some of the other key findings from the 2009 World Wealth Report from Merrill Lynch and Capgemini was that while the U.S., Japan, and Germany accounted for 54% of the HNW in 2008, Hong Kong passed the U.K. as the fourth largest home of the high-net-worth last year. Moreover, the authors of the report expect HNW wealth will grow at an annual rate of 8.1% through 2013, and that the Asia-Pacific region will become the largest geographic center of wealth in the world.
That growth will come as the wealthy “return to higher-risk/higher-return assets and away from capital-preservation instruments.”