Bloomberg News

Ultra-Wealthy in U.S. to Outnumber Those in Asia Until 2032

November 17, 2011

(Updates with Latin American wealth in 13th paragraph.)

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- North America’s super-rich will outnumber Asians with a net worth of at least $30 million for the next 20 years, according to a report from Wealth-X.

There are 62,960 so-called ultra-high-net-worth individuals in North America compared with 54,325 in Europe, Wealth-X, a Singapore-based research and advisory firm said in a report published today. The Asia-Pacific region, which has 42,525, will leapfrog North America in 2032 and Europe in 2024, it said.

“North America is so far ahead thanks to its entrepreneurship,” said Mykolas Rambus, chief executive officer of Wealth-X. “It will take time for Asia’s millionaires to build up their wealth into the ultra-affluent bracket, but when the switch happens, it is likely to be permanent.”

The ultra-wealthy in California, New York and Texas currently exceed the combined total for China and India, according to the report. U.S. wealth managers are hiring “hundreds of advisers” to handle the assets of the country’s super-rich and the five top states, which also include Florida and Illinois, offer “massive potential” for family offices and estate and tax planners, Wealth-X said.

The Asia-Pacific will eventually leapfrog North America in the ultra-wealthy segment as China’s thriving social media industry and a tripling of the number of college graduates over the past eight years create new entrepreneurs, Wealth-X said. The country currently has about 150 billionaires, including Robin Li, chairman of Baidu Inc., China’s most popular search engine.

Billionaires Club

Liu Baolin, 58, chairman of Jointown Pharmaceutical Group has a net worth of about $985 million, according to Wealth-X, which tips him as the nation’s next billionaire, followed by Wu Peifu, chairman of Jiangsu Shuangxing Color P-A.

The U.S. has 455 of the world’s 1,235 billionaires, according to Wealth-X, which provides private banks with information on super-rich clients and potential customers, including their sources of wealth, interests and educational background.

Millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region outnumbered those in Europe for the first time in 2010 as gains in emerging-market stocks and real estate boosted assets, according to a June report by Capgemini SA and the Merrill Lynch wealth management unit of Bank of America Corp.

India’s 8,200 ultra-affluent have grown richer by investing in cars and property and through acquisitions of foreign companies, said Wealth-X, which used government, financial services and media sources to compile its report.

Diamond Trade

Non-resident Indians among the super-rich hold about $465 billion in assets, according to the report.

“A lot of them will bank with London private banks,” said David Leppan, chairman of Wealth-X. “Because of the whole diamond trade there’s a mass of wealth in Belgium.”

In Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, government infrastructure spending and commodity exports are creating new opportunities for the ultra-rich, who number 725, according to the report.

With 80 billionaires Russia is another “hot spot” and the $675 billion assets of the country’s ultra-wealthy almost matches the $705 billion total for the Middle East, Wealth-X said. Brazilians top the super-rich rankings in Latin America with a collective worth of $890 billion, or almost 39 percent of the region’s total.

Private bankers should also track ultra-wealthy Egyptians who are looking to diversify income from domestic markets after the political upheaval this year, according to the report.

--Editors: Dylan Griffiths, Steve Bailey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net


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