The Daily Telegraph

Number of millionair­es in UK surges ahead of France and Germany

- By Tim Wallace

THE number of millionair­es in Britain surged ahead of those in France and Germany last year as a property boom and rebounding stock markets sent wealth levels surging.

The UK has 2.85m people with a net wealth of more than $1m (£877,000), according to Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report, putting the country behind only the United States, China and Japan.

That is up by 266,000 people compared with 2020, and reflects rapid growth in stock markets which took a battering in the pandemic and so had more room to “catch up” last year, pushing up wealth in the UK more quickly than that in some similar countries.

British house prices in the UK climbed by 10pc on the year – similar to France’s 8pc, the US’S 9pc and Germany’s 12pc – while shares climbed 13pc.

It means Britain has more people with seven figures now than either France, which has 2.8m, or Germany, with 2.7m. Both major eurozone nations shed wealthy citizens, with France losing 26,000 and Germany 58,000, in part because of the weak euro which pulled down their worth in dollar terms.

Japan also suffered from a weak currency, reducing its stock of rich residents by almost 400,000 to 3.37m.

Britain is on course to catch up further. By 2026, Credit Suisse expects the UK to have 4.7m millionair­es, a rise of almost two-thirds on today’s level.

That represents the fastest growth in Europe, in part because Britain has an unusually large share of people who have wealth in the high six figures, so a modest rise in wealth can result in a sizeable rise in the number with more than the critical net $1m in cash and assets.

Over the same period Japan is only set to increase its number by 42pc to 4.79m, meaning the two countries will be neck-and-neck. The US has twofifths of the world’s millionair­es, with 24.5m. That is up by 2.5m on the year.

China is next with 6.2m, an increase of more than 1m. This represents one in every 10 millionair­es globally.

The world’s second-largest economy is expected to narrow the gap by 2026, doubling its stock of minted residents to 12.2m, while the US is on track to rise by 13pc to 27.7m over the same period.

In total, the world is predicted to have 87m people in the seven-figure club by 2026.

The global ranks of the ultra-wealthy, people with more than $50m of assets, swelled by 46,000 to a record 218,200.

Credit Suisse said that this increase – which Anthony Shorrocks, one the report’s authors, termed “almost an explosion of wealth” – was partly driven by the surging value of financial assets as stimulus flowed into markets during the Covid crisis. Britain has a less impressive showing when it comes to those with ultra-high net worth, meaning a net wealth of more than $100m.

The US has 141,140 such mega-rich residents, while China is next with 32,710. In Europe, Germany leads the way with 9,720.

Britain has less than half as many, languishin­g with merely 4,180 people with a net worth in nine figures.

When it comes to inequality, the top 1pc hold 21.1pc of the wealth in the UK – down from 22.1pc in 2000. Drops have also been seen in Japan and France, while inequality is up in Germany, the US, India and China.

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