Number of ‘very rich’ individuals at worldwide high

Global high net-worth population soars, thanks to stock market boom

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The number of high net-worth individuals has reached an all-time high after a surge in global stock markets over the past year.

They are defined as people whose disposable assets, excluding their primary residence and its contents, are worth at least $1m (£745,000).

According to figures from Capgemini’s 2017 World Wealth Report, over one million people have joined the ranks of the very rich, meaning there are now 16.4 million high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) globally, holding a collective fortune of $63.5 trillion (£47.3 trillion).

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Unsurprisingly, the majority of the wealth is in North America, Europe and Asia. The US continues to dominate, with almost twice the number of HNWIs (four million) than its nearest rival, Japan.

Germany, China and France make up the top five, with the UK being pushed into sixth for the first time since Capgemini began its annual rankings. However, there is growing competition from emerging economies, with Russia and Brazil both recording a double-digit increases in their number of HNWIs.

Cliff Evans, one of Capgemini’s researchers, said the report showed that the already-rich were getting richer at a much faster rate than the wider population.

“For people with a lot of money the service they’re getting from investment managers is proving its worth,” he said. “If you can afford the advice you get a much greater return.”

Another report cited earlier this year by The Daily Telegraph found that Australia is the world’s most popular country for migrating millionaires, “who are drawn down under by a successful healthcare system, high levels of safety and its proximity to emerging markets in Asia”.

The research also found that despite the economic uncertainty created by Britain’s vote to leave the EU, Brexit has not precipitated a millionaire exodus. Rather, there continues to be a strong flow of very wealthy individuals into the country.

The surge in the number of very wealthy people globally comes “as a growing number of politicians, economists and even the super-wealthy themselves are speaking out about the dangers of growing inequality across the world”, says The Guardian.

The latest to lend their voices to the chorus calling for more to be done to address the problem are four International Monetary Fund economists who warned the paper that inequality “can fray social cohesion and undermine the sustainability of growth itself”.

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