World’s rich grow richer as mar­kets roar

The Mercury - - BUSINESS REPORT -

PER­SONAL fi­nan­cial wealth swelled 12 per­cent last year to nearly $202 tril­lion (R2.7 quadrillion), the strong­est growth in five years as bull mar­kets and the dol­lar’s weak­en­ing against most ma­jor cur­ren­cies boosted global for­tunes, a study showed yes­ter­day. Ad­justed for ex­change rate swings, global wealth rose 7 per­cent, the Bos­ton Con­sult­ing Group sur­vey found. While res­i­dents of North Amer­ica held the great­est share of per­sonal wealth at al­most 43 per­cent, the fastest growth came in Asia, Latin Amer­ica and the Mid­dle East. Most su­per­rich in­di­vid­u­als lived in the US, China and Ja­pan. The con­sult­ing group’s an­nual study showed Switzer­land re­mained the world’s big­gest cen­tre for man­ag­ing off­shore wealth with $2.3 tril­lion, fol­lowed by Hong Kong with $1.1 tril­lion and Sin­ga­pore with $0.9 tril­lion. The two Asian cen­tres have grown at yearly rates of 11 and 10 per­cent re­spec­tively over the past five years, more than three times the 3 per­cent rate Switzer­land has posted. It is in the fast­grow­ing mar­kets that large wealth man­agers, in­clud­ing Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse, are cast­ing wider nets. The Swiss bank­ing se­crecy from which they long prof­ited has been weak­ened. – Reuters

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