Another sign that Europe’s star is waning
FOR the first time ever there are now more millionaires in Asia Pacific than Europe, as the fortunes held by the world’s richest people surpass pre-crisis levels to reach $42.7 trillion (£26.5 trillion).
Asia’s ranks of high net worth individuals – those with investable assets of $1m or more – grew by 9.7 per cent in 2010 to reach 3.3m, while European growth lagged at just 6.3 per cent to hit 3.1m, said the latest Merrill Lynch-Capgemini World Wealth Report.
With Hong Kong and Vietnam each seeing an increase of 33 per cent in high net worth residents, Asia is also now home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing wealthy populations.
The number of millionaires in the UK grew just 1.4 per cent, to 535,000.
As well as the regional shift, many wealthy individuals also changed their investment focus in 2010, with equities now accounting for 33 per cent of all financial assets – up from 29 per cent a year earlier. Holdings in cash and deposits fell meanwhile, down to 14 per cent from 17 per cent in 2009.
And as wealth levels have increased, so have so-called investments of passion – the art and luxury buys that, in an ideal world, marry aesthetic appeal with high returns.
Art, which is seen as the most likely investment of passion to reap returns, accounted for 22 per cent of the total, in a year where a Picasso nude (right) sold at auction for $106.4m.