Why are Bil­lion­aires wor­ries

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By El­iz­a­beth Dilts Source: reuters.com

For the first time in a decade, over­all bil­lion­aire wealth fell last year and the world’s rich­est peo­ple are wor­ried, John Mathews UBS Wealth Man­age­ment Amer­i­cas’ head of ul­tra high net worth said on Thurs­day.

Bil­lion­aire wealth has grown seven-fold in the last two decades, but in 2015, the plat­inum-lined pool of money be­long­ing to the world’s nearly 1,400 bil­lion­aires fell by $300 bil­lion, from $5.4 tril­lion to $5.1 tril­lion, ac­cord­ing to a new study by UBS and Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers.

The num­ber of ul­tra-rich con­tin­ued to grow as 210 new bil­lion­aires joined the elite club, but 160 also re­treated to the ranks of mil­lion­aires, ac­cord­ing to the study. More than half of those that dropped be­low $1 bil­lion were in Asia.

The study in­ter­viewed 60 bil­lion­aires and their heirs, and many said they were more wor­ried than they had been in years over con­tin­ued low in­ter­est rates, in­creas­ing global pro­tec­tion­ism and the di­lu­tion of their wealth by heirs.

“Bil­lion­aire wealth lasts less time than thought,” the au­thors of the re­port wrote.

Some 70 per­cent of bil­lion­aire heirs lose a comma - they be­come mil­lion­aires - dur­ing their life­times, and an­other 20 per­cent lose it by the third gen­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to the study.

Half of the bil­lion­aires in the U.S. are over age 70, mean­ing tril­lions of dol­lars are ex­pected to be handed down to younger gen­er­a­tions over the com­ing years.

Mathews de­clined to pre­dict the im­pact that events such as Brexit and the U.S. elec­tion could have on bil­lion­aires’ wealth this year, but said 2015’s de­cline in wealth was “dra­matic” and in­di­cated a “def­i­nite pause” in bil­lion­aire growth.

“One year doesn’t make a trend, but two po­ten­tially could,” Mathews said.

Bil­lion­aires feel the pres­sure of los­ing a comma: UBS re­port claims.

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