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North America Retakes Title of HNW Capital of the World: Capgemini

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What You Need to Know

  • Wealth held by HNW individuals in the U.S. grew 12.3% in 2020, the 2021 World Wealth Report found.
  • Europe’s high-net-worth wealth and population growth fell behind global averages at 4.5% and 2.8%.
  • Iran’s resurgence was mainly responsible for the Middle East’s gains in the HNW sector in 2020.

Last year, North America regained its position as the region with the largest number of high-net-worth individuals and the most wealth held by this group, with increases of 10.7% in population and 11.9% in wealth, according to Capgemini’s 2021 World Wealth Report.

North America accounted for 55% of the more than 1.2 million new entrants into the global high-net-worth pool, compared with 39% of 2019’s 1.6 million new entrants. It also contributed 46% of 2020’s $5.6 trillion high-net-worth wealth growth, up from 37% of the previous year’s $5.9 trillion.

The U.S. continued to lead this wealth growth with a 12.3% increase in 2020, while its high-net-worth population increased by 11.3%. Canada rose more slowly, its wealth growing by 4.7% and its population by 2.9%.

Capgemini surveyed 2,972 high-net-worth individuals across 26 major wealth markets in February and March. It divided respondents into three wealth bands: millionaires next door, with $1 million to $5 million of investable assets, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables; mid-tier millionaires, with $5 million to $30 million; and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, with $30 million or more of investable assets.

Following is a look at how other regions fared in terms of high-net-worth population and wealth in 2020.

Asia-Pacific

The Asia-Pacific region’s high-net-worth population grew by 5.8% and its wealth by 8.4% in 2020.

China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea outperformed the global average wealth growth: 13.5%, 9%, 12.1% and 9.2%, respectively. South Korea posted higher-than-average high-net-worth population growth of 7.4%, while India’s population growth of 5.9% was marginally better than the Asia-Pacific average.

Japan, the Philippines and Singapore recorded below-average population growth, and Indonesia declined by 4%.

Europe

Europe’s high-net-worth wealth and population growth fell behind global averages at 4.5% and 2.8%.

Germany, France and Russia experienced tepid population growth — 4.7%, 1.7% and 1.2% — while the United Kingdom fell by 3% on the heels of the worst economic contraction since 1709, with GDP dropping by 9.9%.

The report said the region’s muted growth was likely due to the pandemic’s severe effect on key markets and negatively affected industries, such as fashion, retail and tourism. These sectors influence European high-net-worth wealth more than they do in North America, where tech is a significant wealth driver.

Latin America

The coronavirus affected Latin American more than most other regions in 2020, according to Capgemini, resulting in a 4% dip in the region’s high-net-worth population. Their wealth, however, eked out an increase of 0.5%, with the U.S. dollar bolstering wealth gains in the fourth quarter.

Middle East

Iran’s dramatic resurgence was mainly responsible for the Middle East’s 6.8% growth in high-net-worth population and 10.7% wealth gains in 2020. The Tehran Stock Exchange’s trade value increased 625% between March and July, compared with the same period in 2019, and the exchange hit a record high in August.

Iran’s high-net-worth population grew by 21.6% and its wealth by 24.3%.

High-net-worth population and wealth growth was more moderate in other Middle Eastern markets. Saudi Arabia’s was up by 3.3% and 5.4%, while the United Arab Emirates registered 3.4% population and 5.3% wealth increases.

(Photo: Adobe Stock)