World Wealth Report
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Capgemini and Merrill Lynch have just published their latest World Wealth Report 2011. Here are some of the highlights…
Global HNWI population and wealth growth reached more stable levels in 2010, with the population of HNWIs increasing 8.3% to 10.9 million and HNWI financial wealth growing 9.7% to reach US$42.7 trillion (compared with 17.1% and 18.9% respectively in 2009). The global population of Ultra-HNWIs2 grew by 10.2% in 2010 and its wealth by 11.5%.
“The past few years have seen great fluctuations in HNWI wealth and population,” said John Thiel, Head of U.S. Wealth Management and the Private Banking & Investment Group, Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. “In 2010, we saw growth rates slow down from the higher double-digit levels of 2009 when many markets were quickly returning from significant crisis-related losses.”
The global HNWI population remained highly concentrated in the U.S., Japan and Germany, which together accounted for 53.0% of the world’s HNWIs. The U.S. is still home to the single largest HNW segment in the world, with its 3.1 million HNWIs accounting for 28.6% of the global HNWI population.
“While over half of the global HNWI population still resides in the top 3 countries, the concentration of HNWIs is fragmenting very gradually over time,” said Jean Lassignardie, Global Head of Sales and Marketing, Capgemini Global Financial Services. “The concentration of HNWIs among these areas will continue to erode if the HNWI populations of emerging and developing markets continue to grow faster than those of developed markets.”
Asia-Pacific Surpasses Europe for the First Time in both HNWI Population and Wealth
Asia-Pacific posted the strongest regional rate of HNWI population growth in 2010, among the top 3 markets. While HNWI wealth had already overtaken Europe in 2009, Asia- Pacific has now surpassed Europe in terms of HNWI population, expanding 9.7% to 3.3 million, while Europe grew 6.3% to 3.1 million. Asia-Pacific HNWIs’ wealth gained 12.1% to US$10.8 trillion, exceeding Europe’s HNWI wealth of US$10.2 trillion, where the wealth increase was 7.2% in 2010. Asia-Pacific is now the second largest region for both HNWI wealth and population, second only to North America.
Also of note in the Asia-Pacific region, India’s HNWI population became the world’s 12th largest in 2010, entering the top 12 for the first time.
HNWIs Assumed Calculated Risk in Search for Better Returns in 2010
In an environment of relatively stable but uneven recovery, equities and commodities markets, as well as real-estate (specifically in Asia-Pacific), performed solidly throughout 2010.
By the end of 2010, HNWIs held 33% of all their investments in equities, up from 29% a year earlier. Allocations to cash/deposits dropped to 14% in 2010 from 17% in 2009 and the share held in fixed-income investments dipped to 29% from 31%. Among alternative investments, many HNWIs favored commodities. Commodity investments accounted for 22% of all alternative investments in 2010, up from 16% in 2009.
HNWIs in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, also continued to pursue returns in real estate, which accounted for 31% of their aggregate portfolio at the end of 2010, up from 28% a year earlier and far above the 19% global average.
In addition, investments in emerging markets provided opportunities for HNWIs in search of profit. In the first 11 months, investors poured record amounts into emerging market stock and bond funds before selling to capture profits as the year ended and after the value of many emerging market investments topped pre-crisis highs.
“Global capital markets and major asset classes performed well over the year on the back of rising investor risk appetite,” said Thiel. “The shift toward equities in 2010 by HNWI investors reflected the search for returns and the desire to recoup more crisis-related losses. We also saw HNWIs continue to favor specific asset classes, such as equities and commodities, based on market opportunity or long-standing preferences.”
Looking forward, HNWIs are expected to increase their equity and commodities allocations even more in 2012 while reducing their allocations to real estate and cash/deposits. Regional preferences are less certain as the extent of emerging market opportunities will depend on whether those markets can push to new highs while economies are being weaned of government stimulus.
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