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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Taking the pulse of the global ultra-wealthy: 8 key findings

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There are 212,615 ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals globally holding a combined wealth of US$30 trillion in net assets, according to new research.

Wealth-X discloses this finding in “World Ultra Wealth Report 2015-2016,” the 4th edition of an annual study. The research analyzes the wealthiest individuals worldwide with a focus on geography, lifestyle, social networks, philanthropic behaviors, motivations and legacy. 

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The study shows almost flat growth in 2015 as the number of individuals with US$30 million or more in net assets grew just 0.6 percent and total UHNW wealth increased by 0.8 percent. Despite this meager growth, UHNW individuals, who account for just 0.004 percent of the world’s adult population, still control 12 percent of its wealth.

The World Ultra Wealth Report also uncovers several regional differences in UHNW growth trends. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa UHNW wealth fell 2.4 percent as equity markets, local currencies and gross domestic product collectively experienced negative net returns.

By contrast, Asia-Pacific experienced a 3.9 percent rise as the ultra-wealthy in certain markets continued to benefit from dynamic business expansion and economic growth. In the Americas, it was Latin America, rather than North America, that helped the region achieve a modest 1.5 percent growth in ultra-wealth value.

Across all geographic regions, the highest ranks of the UHNW population are experiencing the most success. The report highlights that in 2015 billionaires saw their wealth grow 5.4 percent, more than double the rate of global economic growth.

Collectively, other tiers saw their wealth shrink by 0.6 percent. 

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A summary of the Wealth-X report also reveals these 8 findings:

  • By 2020 UHNW wealth is expected to grow to US$46.2 trillion at a compound annual growth rate of 9 percent. 
  • The UHNW population is expected to exceed 318,000 by 2020.  
  • While the female UHNW population remained steady at 13 percent, their share of total UHNW wealth fell from 14 percent to 11 percent this year. Average female high net worth wealth dropped from US$147 million to US$126.3 million.  
  • Male wealth increased 2.4 percent from US$139.8 million to US$143.1 million, reflecting a greater focus on self-made wealth and a higher-risk asset composition.
  • Though its lead among other UHNW industries continues to shrink as manufacturing grows in importance. 
  • In two out of three cases, wealth is purely self-made rather than inherited. As wealth matures in younger economies, the transfer of wealth has seen a growing class of second-generation ultra-wealthy emerge. 
  • The under-30 demographic accounts for just 1 percent of the world’s ultra-wealthy population and 0.3 percent of global UHNW wealth. 
  • UHNW individuals aged 80 or over are seven times wealthier than those under 30 and are worth nearly double that of the average UHNW individual globally. 

The Wealth-X report is based on the company’s database of global UHNW individuals. The study also uses a proprietary valuation model to assess asset holdings, including privately and publicly held businesses and investable assets, to develop each individual Net Worth Valuation.  


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