WORK-LIFE BALANCE / MAR. 07, 2014
version 2, draft 2

London Remains a Target for the World’s Ultra-rich

London retains its crown as the world’s leading global city for the world’s richest, followed by New York, and both are set to remain there for at least a decade, according to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report, an annual analysis of wealth flows and property investment around the world.

Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank stated that London outperforms New York because it is a leading global city that attracts more nationalities than the American city. He adds that: “History, location and their long-established wealth mean that London and New York’s positions look unassailable, at least for now. It is further down our leader board that the real city wars are being waged. The main battleground is Asia, where a handful of locations are slugging it out in the hope of establishing a clear lead as the region’s alpha urban hub”.

The Ultra-wealthy Population Increases

The report underlines that the number of ultra-wealthy people (UHNWIs) all over the world surged by 3% last year, despite the unfavourable and uncertain economic climate in many countries. In numbers, this translates into nearly 5,000 individuals qualifying as UHNWIs in 2013, taking the numbers of people with US$30m or more in net assets to more than 167,000 worldwide.

North America and Europe saw the strongest rates of growth in 2013. 1,500 more individuals boosted their net value beyond US$30m (£21m) in North America last year, a rise of 3.5%. The number of UHNWIs in Europe increased by 3.3%, or almost 2,000 people, over the same period. Asia gained nearly 1,000 UHNWIs during the year, taking the region’s total to 41,114, only slightly fewer than in North America.

In addition to this, the number of centamillionaires – those with US$100m in net assets – has risen by 62%, while the tally of billionaires has climbed by 80% to 1,682, according to WealthInsight, a leading wealth intelligence firm, which has supplied data for the report.

Bright Horizons for the Future

The global outlook for the near future is also brighter, with signs of sustained growth in the US and the eurozone, and a stabilisation in key Asian economies. Among the countries with the most UHNWIS in 2023 are USA (47,468), Japan (18,974), China (14,213), Germany (13,546), UK (12,015).

London was home to the most UHNWIs in 2013, and this will still be the case in 2023, with nearly 5,000 expected to be living in the UK’s capital by then. Singapore and New York will leapfrog Tokyo and Hong Kong to take second and third places respectively. The prevalence of wealth being attracted to, and created in, cities is highlighted by the fact that the top six cities have more UHNWIs living in them than the whole of Latin America and the Middle East combined.

Interestingly, certain markets that were affected by the global financial crisis, such as, Dubai (+17%), Madrid (+5%) and Dublin (+17.5%) marked a strong rebound.

On the whole, London beats New York in terms of attracting the world’s ultra-rich investors who control more than $20tn in assets – more than the national output of the US and Germany combined. Meanwhile, the booming stock markets and global economic recovery have favoured the increase of the population of the world’s super rich, with predictions indicating further remarkable increases over the next decade. 

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