Billionaires’ Wealth Plummets by $388 billion in 2018

Published November 17th, 2019 - 01:00 GMT
Billionaires’ Wealth Plummets by $388 billion in 2018
Billionaire Effect is alive and well across the world – and shows little sign of slowing. (Shutterstock)
Highlights
This is one of the findings of the annual UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights report, The Billionaire Effect.

Over the 15 years to the end of 2018, billionaire-controlled companies listed on the equity market returned 17.8 percent, compared with the 9.1 percent of the MSCI AC World Index.


This is one of the findings of the annual UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights report, The Billionaire Effect. The report also revealed that, more broadly, billionaires’ wealth dipped by $388 billion in 2018, following five years of growth.

In Saudi Arabia, there were 10 billionaires in 2018. They saw their fortunes rise from $52.6 billion in 2017 to 54.5 billion in 2018.

Asia’s billionaires saw a correction following five years of significant growth, during which their wealth almost quadrupled. By contrast, the Americas saw a slight wealth increase this year, led by prominent US tech billionaires. Despite slowing growth last year, billionaire wealth is over a third higher (34.5 percent) than five years earlier, amounting to an increase of $2.2 trillion.

Globally, the strong dollar and volatile equity markets saw billionaire wealth decrease to $8.5 trillion after five years of growth.

Tech billionaires saw their wealth increase more than any other sector last year, fuelled by existing businesses and disruptive new market entrants.

The number of female billionaires has grown by 46 percent in five years.

Josef Stadler, Head of Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, commented on the new report: “The billionaire boom of the past five years has now undergone a natural correction. The stronger dollar, combined with greater uncertainty in equity markets amidst a tough geopolitical environment, has created the conditions for this dip.”

“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. This ‘Billionaire Effect’ is alive and well across the world – and shows little sign of slowing.”

Ali Janoudi, Head Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa at UBS Global Wealth Management, said: "The study shows that over two thirds of billionaires in emerging markets Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as in the more established countries Poland and Cyprus, are self-made, which is encouraging as it highlights just how much economic opportunity and entrepreneurial drive we can find in these regions."


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