Parag Deulgaonkar;  March 07, 2013

The number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in the UAE, having a fortune of $30 million, is set rise by 53 per cent over the next decade, according to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2013. The global property consultant estimates that in the next 10 years the number of HNWIs will grow from 828 to 1,270 in the country. Their number across the Middle East is also set to grow by 58 per cent between 2012 and 2022 from 4,675 to 7,378, while the number of billionaires will increase by 45 per cent from 140 to 203.

The UAE was ranked second to Iraq in terms of growth of wealthy individuals. Iraq is expected to see 125 per cent increase in HNWIs, rising from 162 to 365 by 2022. Saudi Arabia will see an increase of 49 per cent with the number of wealthy individuals rising from 1,289 to 1,917.
Seven residents of the UAE – including four Emiratis – are on the Forbes 2013 billionaire’s list with a combined net worth of Dh60 billion($16.25 billion). Seven UAE tycoons on Forbes billionaire’s list. Globally, Knight Frank said the number of HNWIs rose by 8,700, or five per cent, in 2012 with combined wealth held by growing by 2 per cent, or $566 billion, to over $26 trillion in 2012. Over the next 10 years, it expects 95,000 more people will break the $30 million wealth barrier, taking the total HNWIs across the globe to around 285,665, an increase of 50 per cent.

Africa is likely to register a 117 per cent rise, the biggest in the decade, taking the total number of HNWIs to 75 from 35 in 2012.

Knight Frank predicts Asia will overtake North America and Europe to become the continent with the highest number of billionaires. Currently, it estimates 543 billionaires live in Asia, compared with 586 in North America and with 708 in Europe. However, it estimates that in 2022 the number will grow to 1,191 in Asia while there will be 1,115 in Europe and 1,146 in North America.
Knight Frank’s global top 10 comprises three European centres (London, Geneva and Paris), two from North America (New York and Miami), four from Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing), with Dubai being the only Middle East representative.

The main difference from last year’s Attitudes Survey is the weakening of the European centres. Paris drops to ninth place in the popular vote and Berlin falls out of the top 10 altogether. Singapore has had a very strong year, eclipsing Paris and Hong Kong, which it had previously lagged. Further signs of Asia’s growing strength are confirmed by the 10-year forecast by the consultancy. London hangs on in pole position, but New York relegated to third place by Singapore. Shanghai and Beijing rise. In the rankings, pushing Geneva and Paris further down the list. “Even Dubai is knocked down the table by the anticipation of the influence that will be wielded by the Asian behemoth,” the report said.

In the report, Maya Prabhu, who heads up Philanthropy Advisory Services at Coutts, states: “The wealthy don’t live in a vacuum; having a healthy society around them is good for their well-being as well as their wealth. You could call it a mixture of enlightened self-interest and compassion.”


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