Number of millionaires falls

The world’s wealthy are getting poorer and poorer at an alarming rate.

The number of millionaire households in the world dropped from 11 million in 2007 to 9 million last year, a fall of almost 18%, according to The Boston Consulting Group.

In North America the number was even higher, a 22 percent drop. Global wealth overall has also declined dramatically.


The crisis is transforming the global map of the world’s wealthiest people, with Europe nudging out North America as the richest region, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The report, titled Delivering on the Client Promise: Global Wealth 2009, is being released today (september 15).

Global wealth fell from $104.7 trillion in 2007, measured in assets under management (AuM), to $92.4 trillion in 2008—a decline of 11.7 percent. It was the first decline since 2001.1

* The steepest decline was in North America, where wealth plummeted by 21.8 percent last year

* In North America, the share of wealth held in equities fell from 50 percent in 2007 to 38 percent in 2008—but the region still had the highest proportion of wealth held in equities

* Europe had $32.7 trillion in AuM, down 5.8 percent from the previous year, followed by North America, with $29.3 trillion in AuM

* Latin America was the only region where wealth increased—its AuM grew by 3 percent in 2008

The number of millionaire households worldwide fell from 11 million to about 9 million—a drop of 17.8 percent.

The decline was steepest in North America and Europe, at 22 percent in both regions, although the United States continued to have the most millionaire households—nearly 4 million.

* Singapore had the highest concentration of millionaires, with 8.5 percent of the country’s households owning more than $1 million

* Three of the six densest millionaire populations were in the Middle East—in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar

The crisis also narrowed the gap between the wealthy and nonwealthy. Wealth owned by households with less than $100,000 in AuM increased by 2 percent in 2008. It declined in all other segments. Among households with more than $5 million in AuM, wealth fell by 21.5 percent.

“Wealth will begin a slow recovery in 2010 but may not reach its precrisis level until 2013,” said Peter Damisch, a BCG partner and a coauthor of the report.

“We expect wealth to grow at an average annual rate of about 4 percent from year-end 2008 through 2013.” Wealth will grow fastest in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) at 9.5 percent per year over the same period, he added.

Source: Boston Consulting Group Photo: