The combined wealth of high net worth individuals in the Asia Pacific region surpassed that of their European counterparts in 2009 on the back of strong growth across China and India, according to a joint report released on Wednesday by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and the consulting firm Capgemini SA.
In the 14th annual World Wealth Report, the total number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – defined as persons with at least US$1 million in investible assets – rebounded in 2009 up to 10 million after a dismal 2008 which saw the world’s millionaires drop to 8.6 million due to the global economic downturn. And although many wealthy individuals across developed countries saw their fortunes rise last year, it was emerging markets in particular that saw the most dramatic changes
“The rebound has been, and will continue to be, driven by emerging markets – especially India and China, as well as Brazil, ” said Bertrand Lavayssiere, managing director of Capgemini’s global financial services sector. “In fact, Asia-Pacific was the only region in which both macroeconomic and market drivers of wealth expanded significantly in 2009. ”
In the annual report, North America, lead by the United States as the world’s largest source of millionaires, claimed the most HNWIs with 3.1 million, but was followed closely by Europe and the Asia-Pacific region with three million each.
“After falling 14.2 percent in 2008 to 2.4 million, Asia-Pacific’s HNWI population rebounded in 2009 to reach three million, matching that of Europe’s HNWI population for the very first time, ” according to a media release. “Hong Kong and India led growth in Asia-Pacific, after experiencing massive declines in their HNWI bases and wealth in 2008, ” it added.
While it was the first time Asia-Pacific has matched Europe in terms of total millionaires, with a 31 percent surge in combined assets, it was also the first year in which Asia’s HNWIs were worth more than those of Europe. The region’s collective wealth of US$9.7 trillion just barely surpassed the pooled levels of Europe’s richest individuals, who were worth US$9.5 trillion. North America was ahead by US$1 trillion, and topped the list at US$10.7 trillion in HNWIs accumulated wealth.
This story was written for the website, 2point6billion.com.The site is contributed to by the experts at Dezan Shira & Associates, who maintain