Billionaires score over millionaires

2012-09-17 11:53

Singapore - Many millionaires got poorer in the last year, but billionaires did just fine, using their heavyweight money management teams to ride out market and economic turmoil that hit the lesser rich, research company Wealth-X said on Monday.

The ranks of people with at least $30m edged up to 187 380 but their total wealth fell 1.8% to $25.8 trillion - still a sum bigger than the combined size of the US and Chinese economies, Wealth-X said in a report.

Hardest hit globally were those in the $200m to $499m range, whose numbers dropped 9.9% and whose fortunes shrank 11.4%, the World Ultra Wealth Report said, using data for the year through July 31.

But the really, really rich got even richer as the number of billionaires rose 9.4% to 2 160 people and their wealth grew 14% to $6.2 trillion.

"Even at a billion or two billion, they have a much larger entourage, they have much more in the way of investment advice. They certainly get the attention of every major bank," Mykolas Rambus, Wealth-X's chief executive officer, told Reuters.

"This was the issue about that mid tier, the $100m to $500m risk land. I don't think it appears these guys employ enough talent to help their own portfolios plus their holding companies to be successful."

As Europe struggles and the US economy recovers fitfully, the affluent are shifting away from speculative investments into private companies, commodities and property, said Wealth-X, a Singapore-based firm that provides intelligence on the ultra-rich to banks, fundraisers and luxury retailers.

Asia suffered the worst regional loss of wealth, with a fall of 6.8% to $6.25 trillion due to weaker equity markets and lower export demand from the West, it said.

While wealth also shrank in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, the rich saw their fortunes grow in North America (up 2.8% to $8.88 trillion) and Oceania (up 4.4% to $475bn) - much of that in Australia.

But Asia's rich cannot be discounted, Wealth-X said, as the fall in wealth in Japan, China and India - home to 75% of ultra high net worth (UHNW) Asians - will reverse, based on the strength of the region's financial systems and economies.

"Total Asian UHNW wealth is forecast to surpass the US combined wealth by 2020," it said.

The full report is available at

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  • titus.ramapuputla - 2012-09-17 12:15

    Financial literacy seems to be a backbone on this game. We need to encourage our society to invest in basic financial literacy.Se se tla re thusa go re le rena re swane le bona batho ba.

      patrick.starkey1 - 2013-04-29 07:32

      Titus, you are so on the money there.

      patrick.starkey1 - 2013-04-29 07:39

      But all the bulk of these people at the top (apart from the odd maverick) had excellent basic schooling to enable them into professions that allowed them to accrue wealth in the first place. However, look at the affluent centers in any city & you will see the banks occupying a healthy slice of that realty. Add to the fact that the CEOs & chairmen of these organisations are always on the top earners lists, that gives a person an indicators of which area their studies could focus on.

  • jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-09-17 12:24

    OMG, not the millionares!! It's so tragic!

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-09-17 12:32

    And i ask myself where am i amongst those mentioned *dont stress trying to look i can even see myself there too* lol

  • ally.oh.7 - 2012-09-17 14:00

    Would any of these billionaires like to introduce me to the arcana of their success?

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