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Growth in Number of Female Billionaires Outpaces Males: Study

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The number of female billionaires is growing faster than the number of male billionaires, according to new research.

UBS and PwC found that there are far more billionaire women today than there were 20 years ago, and the power they wield over great wealth has grown.

UBS Group and PwC launched a joint deep-dive report, The Changing Faces of Billionaires, which explores the role of women in building lasting financial legacies.

According to the report, the number of female billionaires has grown by a factor of 6.6, from 22 in 1995 to 145 in 2014. By comparison, the number of male billionaires remains far larger at 1,202, but has grown by a relatively smaller factor of 5.2.

Female billionaires are also driving their families’ businesses.

Over two-thirds of billionaire women in the study are “active value creators,” according to the report.

The report considers someone an “active value creator” if they are a driver of wealth creation as an entrepreneur or in the family business, a promoter of family and firm governance, and a passionate philanthropist.

Looking deeper, the report looks at the percentage of female billionaires that are driving wealth creation by region. The report found that 57% of the female billionaires in the US, 63% in Europe and 96% in Asia are active wealth creators.

The report predicts that Asia will be the center of new billionaire wealth creation – and women will play an increasingly important role.

According to the report, Asia has seen the strongest growth of female billionaires in the past 10 years, their numbers grew by a factor of 8.8 from only 3 to 25 today. This compares to a growth factor of 2.7 from 21 to 57 in Europe and 1.7 from 37 to 63 in the U.S.

Female billionaires in Asia make up almost one-fifth of the global female billionaire population, according to the report, and generally are younger than their global counterparts.

Although female billionaires remain a minority, the growth in opportunities for women to accumulate wealth suggests female entrepreneurs will drive significant growth in the number of billionaire women.

“In multigenerational billionaire families, we expect more and more daughters to be groomed to take an active role in leading the family and its business,” the report says. “We expect female billionaires in the U.S. and Europe will pioneer entrepreneurial philanthropy, engaging in public policy advocacy and for-profit investments that further their favoured causes.”

The report expects the strong entrepreneurial trend in Asia to continue with female billionaires driving philanthropy forward as they increase in number and play larger roles in their families’ commitments in the space.

The report’s findings, which build upon UBS/PwC’s 2015 Billionaires Report released last May, are based on a number of sources to research and profile the characteristics of wealthy individuals. These were blended into a mosaic analytical framework to conduct modeling and analysis.

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