Friday 8 November 2019 10:13 am

Billionaire boom slows down as uncertainty hits the super-wealthy

The billionaire boom has grounded to a halt, as a year of political upheaval took its toll on the world’s super-wealthy. 

A new report has found that billionaires’ wealth dipped by $388bn in 2018, following five years of growth. 

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While the Americas saw a slight wealth increase this year, led by prominent US tech billionaires, in Asia the number of billionaires edged down after five years of sharp growth.

Women are also joining the ultra-rich ranks in greater numbers, according to the findings from UBS and PwC, with the number of female billionaires growing by 46 per cent in the last five years.

“The stronger dollar, combined with greater uncertainty in equity markets amidst a tough geopolitical environment, has created the conditions for this dip,” said Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth at UBS Global Wealth Management.

He added: “Nevertheless, it’s clear that billionaire businesses continue to thrive. Billionaires are creating and steering businesses that consistently outperform equity markets.

“This business acumen has also translated into their philanthropy, as billionaires seek new ways to engineer far-reaching environmental and social change.”

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Despite slowing growth last year, billionaire wealth is over a third higher (34.5 per cent) than five years earlier, amounting to an increase of $2.2 trillion.

Billionaire companies listed on the equity markets also outperformed the global benchmark by 8.7 percent in the 15 years to the end of 2018.