Credit Suisse has published its annual Global Wealth Report, one of the most comprehensive tools analysing the changing face of wealth across the world over the last 15 years - and how that will change over the next five years.
Here are the nine key things you need to know.
1. Global wealth has fallen
Exchange rate fluctuations over the past year have reduced the world’s wealth by $12.4 trillion dollars, the first time wealth has fallen since the economic crisis.
2. Except in these two regions
The net worth of households fell across the globe, by 4.7 per cent, and in every region except for China and North America where wealth grew by seven per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively.
3. Europe lost more wealth than anywhere else
Europe experienced the biggest loss of wealth - $10.7 trillion in cash terms. Latin America’s wealth fell furthest in percentage terms however, tumbling 17 per cent.
4. Each of us is less wealthy now than in 2013
Collectively, the wealth of each adult fell 6.2 per cent and stands at $52,400 - less than 2013 levels.
5. Wealth inequality is increasing
The top one per cent of wealth holders now own half of all the world's wealth.
6. Wealth growth is slowing
Last year, Credit Suisse predicted wealth would grow at an annual rate of seven per cent over the following five years. That’s now been pared back to growth of 6.6 per cent by 2020.
7. The middle class in China is now bigger than in the US
China has overtaken the US as the country with the largest middle class, counting 109m people with assets that put them in this category versus 92m in the US. Credit Suisse defines the middle class as those with wealth (not income) of between $50,000 and $500,000.
8. It’s not all bad (if you look at constant currencies)
Here’s what the report had to say about exchange rates and its effects:
Interestingly, the losses recorded for the regions all vanish when currencies are valued at constant (average) exchange rates rather than the rates prevailing in mid-2014 and mid-2015.
The fact that the wealth declines observed last year depend so heavily on the prevailing exchange rate cautions against giving too much attention to the consequences of currency-related setbacks, which may well be reversed in the near future.
9. Switzerland is the wealthiest country in the world (the UK is the sixth)
The wealth of each person in Switzerland stands at $567,100 (£371,961), on average, although that fell by 4.2 per cent on 2014. The UK is ranked the sixth wealthiest country in the world, with an average wealth per adult standing at $320,400 (£210,132) That figure was up 1.7 per cent on last year.