Millionaires in Asia reach a new milestone for wealth

Millionaires in Asia reach a new milestone for wealth

Asia's millionaires are now richer than North America's.

According to Capgemini's World Wealth Report, released Thursday, millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region had US$17.4 trillion (S$23.63 trillion) in total wealth in 2015, up nearly 10 per cent from 2014. That marked the first time wealth among millionaires in that region topped that of those living in North America.

By comparison, North American millionaires had US$16.6 trillion in wealth last year, representing growth of 2.3 per cent.

Combined, the two regions accounted for more than half of the world's US$58.7 trillion in wealth from high net worth individuals. Capgemini defines those individuals as people with more than US$1 million in investable assets excluding their primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables.

Asia's jump was largely fueled by China and Japan, which together accounted for 60 per cent of last year's global growth in the number of millionaires. Japan alone added 268,000 new millionaires last year, growing 11 per cent, the report said. Millionaire growth is expected to continue skewing toward Asia, with Capgemini forecasting its millionaire population will more than double to 11.7 million by 2025.

Last year, the number of millionaires in Asia increased 9.4 per cent to 5.1 million. In North America, the high net worth population increased 2 per cent to 4.8 million.

By country, the US still has a commanding lead in the millionaire count, at 4.5 million. Yet its growth in this metric is modest, at 2 per cent. Japan ranked second with 2.7 million millionaires, followed by Germany with 1.2 million. China, which ranked fourth, had 1 million millionaires. Growth among the number of millionaires and their net worth is slowing around the world, after rapid increases between 2010 and 2014.

Capgemini said millionaire wealth grew 4 per cent in 2015, while the number of millionaires increased 4.9 per cent, to 15.4 million. Both rates are slower than the more than 7 per cent growth seen in each metric after 2010.

Yet millionaires are still getting richer. The report said they're expected to have more than US$100 trillion in wealth in the next 10 years, up from nearly US$59 trillion today.

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