Where's the wealth? Nearly half of Middle East's ultra wealthy live in Saudi or UAE

Published October 4th, 2015 - 04:15 GMT
Saudi Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Al Saud is the wealthiest Arab in the world with $22.6 billion. (Al Bawaba/File)
Saudi Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Al Saud is the wealthiest Arab in the world with $22.6 billion. (Al Bawaba/File)

There are nearly 6,000 ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals in the Middle East with a combined net worth of $995 billion, according to a Wealth-X study.

Saudi Arabia has the largest UHNW population (1,495 ultra wealthy individuals) and UHNW wealth ($320 billion) in the region, followed by the UAE.

There are 1,275 ultra wealthy individuals in the UAE, representing 20 per cent of the total ultra wealthy population in the Middle East, the study by Wealth-X, a global authority on wealth intelligence, said.

The combined wealth of the UAE’s ultra high net worth (UHNW) population stands at $255 billion, it said.

Saudi Arabia is ranked 17 in the Wealth-X’s global ranking of UHNW population by country, while the UAE is ranked 22nd and Kuwait 32.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly accounted for over 45 per cent of the UHNW population in the Middle East.

The study also revealed that 57 per cent of the UAE’s UHNW population amassed their fortune through entrepreneurship. Only 8 per cent fully inherited their fortune; and 35 per cent partially inherited and grew their wealth.
Other key findings from the study:
• Nearly 1,000 UHNW individuals are based in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi (450 individuals) and Dubai (495).
• Only 3 per cent of the UAE’s UHNW population made its wealth through oil, gas and consumable fuels.
• The most significant source of wealth for the UAE’s UNHW population is industrial conglomerates, at more than 20 per cent.

David Awit, Wealth-X director for the Middle East, said: “Despite the UAE equity market suffering declines of nearly 20 per cent in the last year, our study shows that UHNW individuals in the country have defied this economic backdrop to record further increases in their fortunes in 2015, highlighting the ability of the world’s wealthiest individuals to continue to create new wealth.”
Wealth-X defines UHNW individuals as those with $30 million and above in net assets.

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