In much of the world, the rich may be getting richer, but in Canada, the ranks of the uber-wealthy stagnated last year, according to a new report.
The inaugural report on the ultra wealthy from Swiss bank, UBS AG, and research firm, Wealth-X, finds that the world’s population of super-rich individuals (those with assets of at least US$30 million) reached an all-time high of 199,235 individuals with a combined fortune of nearly US$28 trillion in 2013.
This represents growth of more than 6% in population size from the previous year. And, the U.S. was a big contributor to that growth, with the ranks of the rich there growing by 8.7% year over year, and their total fortune was up almost 10% to over US$9 trillion.
However, for Canada, it was a tougher year for the super rich. The population of ultra high net worth individuals (UHNW) actually declined modestly, from 5,015 in 2012 to 4,980; and their estimated fortune remained steady at US$595 billion.
The report also reveals that the wealthy in Canada are overwhelmingly old men. It found that, of all the individual countries it focused on, Canadian UHNW individuals are the oldest with an average age of 63. And, they have one of the lowest proportions of female net worth in the world, with just 250 UHNW women, with a combined net worth of US$18 billion.
Women only make up 5% of the UHNW population in Canada, and only account for 3% of the wealth. This compares to 12% of the population, and 13% of the wealth in the world overall, respectively.
The report also found that there are now over 2,000 billionaires globally, with a total net worth of US$6.5 trillion, which represents 23% of the world’s UHNW total wealth, but only 1% of the UHNW population.
Growth in the UHNW population over the past year largely came from North America and Europe, the report says, with the two regions responsible for a net gain of nearly 10,000 UHNW individuals and a total increase in wealth of US$1.5 trillion. Whereas, major emerging markets, China and Brazil, saw their UHNW populations shrink due to economic slowdowns in these countries.
Overall however, Asia saw a 5.4% year over year increase in the combined wealth of its UHNW population. And, the report predicts that Asia will see greater growth in its UHNW population, and assets, than North America and Europe over the next five years.
Indeed, it forecasts that, at current growth rates, Asia’s ultra wealthy population pass Europe’s in 2021, and their total wealth will exceed Europe’s by 2017. It’s expected to surpass the U.S. in total wealth in 2024, and in population by 2032.
Latin America was the only region to suffer a decline in both its UHNW population and total wealth over the past year.
“The outlook for the world’s UHNW population and growth is positive,” the report says. “However, the path to economic recovery will prove to be more difficult for some continents than others, especially Europe.”
“As Europe’s growth weakens, Asia’s economies will continue to strengthen. Trailing Asia’s growth will be Africa and Latin America. North America will experience sustained growth in its UHNW population and wealth as it remains resilient in the face of the Eurozone crisis,” it says.
“The Middle East’s rapid growth will gradually translate into moderate growth over the next five years. Oceania’s growth will be flat as the mining boom winds down at a faster pace than previously expected,” it says.