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Asia's Wealthy Class Getting Much Wealthier

Asia's Wealthy Class Getting Much Wealthier

Asia-Pacific will have more millionaires and billionaires than any region in the world as early as next year, according to a study of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI).

The number of Asian HNWI - people with at least $1 million in investable assets - grew by 9.4 percent in 2012 to reach 3.68 million and their wealth increased by 12.2 percent to US$12 trillion, the report from Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. Asia-Pacific says.

North America boasts a larger population of HNWI, with 3.73 million, after an 11.3 percent jump in 2012. But Asia should soon claim the top spot, the report concludes.

Asia's "leadership in global high net worth wealth growth positions it to become the largest wealth market by population as early as 2014," said M. George Lewis, Group Head, RBC Health Management & RBC Insurance.

Asia-Pacific's population of ultra-HNWI individuals - defined as people with investable assets of US$30 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables - grew the most among the wealthy strata, and far faster than the rest of the world. The number of ultra-HNWI grew 15.4 percent in 2012, while their wealth increased by 9.4 percent, "significantly" exceeding gains by ultra-HNWI in other regions.
Since 2007 Asia's HNWI population and wealth has increased by 31 percent and 27 percent, respectively, "far outpacing growth in the rest of the world of 14 percent and 9 percent," the report says.

But the increase in wealth is not universal across the region. Hong Kong and India posted the largest gains in 2012. After "steep declines" in 2011. Hong Kong's HNWI population grew by 35.7 percent and their wealth by 37.2 percent, while India's population grew by 22.2 percent and their wealth by 23.4 percent.

Japan and Taiwan were the only markets to experience single-digit increases in HNWI population, though "both still showed steady growth at 4.4 percent and 7.0 percent, respectively."

The report also notes that Japan's HNWI have "markedly unique investing behaviors and preferences," and although they account for more than 50 percent of the regions wealthy population, the study frequently separate them from the overall Asia-Pacific analysis.

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