The Middle East had one of the highest growth rates of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in 2010, according to the 15th annual World Wealth Report, released Wednesday by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini.
In 2010, the region’s HNWIs population rose by 10.4 percent to 440,000, and their combined wealth increasing by 12.5 percent to $1.7 trillion, it said.
The report defines HNWIs as those who hold at least $1 million in assets and Ultra-HNWIs as those who hold at least $30 million in financial assets, with both excluding collectibles, consumables, consumer durables and primary residences.
The world’s HNWIs expanded in population and wealth in 2010, surpassing 2007 pre-crisis levels in nearly every region, the report said.
Global HNWI population and wealth growth reached more stable levels in 2010, with the population of HNWIs increasing 8.3 percent to 10.9 million and HNWI financial wealth growing 9.7 percent to reach $42.7 trillion (compared with 17.1 percent and 18.9 percent respectively in 2009). The global population of Ultra-HNWIs grew by 10.2 percent in 2010 and its wealth by 11.5 percent.
“The past few years have seen great fluctuations in HNWI wealth and population,” said Tamer Rashad, head of Middle East Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “In 2010, we saw growth rates slow down from the higher double-digit levels of 2009 when many markets were quickly returning from significant crisis-related losses.”
At the end of 2010, the number of HNWIs grew in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain but declined marginally in the UAE. Saudi Arabia had 113,300 HNWIs in 2010, an increase of 8.2 percent from 2009. In Bahrain, there were 6,700 HNWIs in 2010, up 24.0 percent from 2009. While in the UAE, the HNWI population declined by only 3.5 percent to 52,600 in 2010, in contrast to the larger decline of 18.8 percent in 2009.
The global HNWI population remained concentrated in the U.S., Japan and Germany, which together accounted for 53.0 percent of the world’s HNWIs. The U.S. is still home to the single largest HNW segment in the world, with its 3.1 million HNWIs accounting for 28.6 percent of the global HNWI population.