Last year’s steep decline in equity market performance, notably in the fourth quarter, halted the steady rise in global personal financial wealth, according to a report released Thursday by Boston Consulting Group.
Wealth managers’ profitability took a hit as well, forcing them to reinvent their business models in order to succeed in an increasingly crowded marketplace. One suggestion from the report: Target clients with less than $1 million.
“Wealth managers are at a crossroads,” Anna Zakrzewski, Zurich-based global leader of BCG’s wealth management segment and the report’s co-author, said in a statement. “What worked for them in the past will not work for them in the future.”
BCG reported that global personal financial wealth grew by a mere 1.6% in 2018, to $206 trillion, compared with 7.5% growth the previous year, and well below the 6.2% compound annual growth rate recorded from 2013 to 2017.
BCG’s market sizing review encompassed 97 markets that collectively account for 98% of the world’s GDP, and drew on data from some 150 wealth managers on performance pressures and critical strategic areas for improvement.
According to the report, the number of millionaires around the world grew by 2.1% year on year to 22.1 million in 2018. These individuals now hold a combined 50% of personal financial assets globally.
North America continued to have the biggest concentration of millionaires. However, from 2018 to 2023, the millionaire population of Asia ex-Japan is likely to experience the fastest growth at 10.1%. Africa and Latin America will follow at 9.8% and 9.1%.
The total number of millionaires globally should reach 27.6 million by 2023, the report said.
BCG noted that wealth managers seeking new sources of growth can look to the huge affluent segment whose wealth is in the $250,000 to $1 million range. This base of potential clients for wealth management services shows great promise.
The affluent tier comprises 76 million individuals globally, with investable assets that are projected to grow at a compound annual 6.2% over the next five years, according to the report.
“Winners will accelerate product innovation and develop offerings that address the specific needs and preferences of affluent subsegments,” Zakrzewski said.