Asia's wealthy surpass North Americans for first time: report
By John O'Callaghan
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The number of rich Asians surpassed North Americans for the first time last year, but their fortunes shrank slightly and still trailed total wealth on the other side of the Pacific, Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management said on Wednesday.
The Asia-Pacific region is now home to 3.37 million high net worth individuals (HNWI) - people with $1 million or more to invest - compared with 3.35 million in North America and 3.17 million in Europe, the firms said in a report.
Asia's wealthy - 54 percent of whom are concentrated in Japan, almost 17 percent in China and more than 5 percent in Australia - saw their total fortunes slip to $10.7 trillion last year from $10.8 trillion in 2010, and lag North America's $11.4 trillion.
The Asia-Pacific Wealth Report, compiled by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, is closely watched by wealth managers, high-end property agents, luxury goods retailers and other businesses for signs of how and where the ultra-wealthy are investing and how their fortunes are faring.
Many of Asia's rich made their millions and billions through family businesses and property.
"We don't see massive shifting in the allocations of portfolio management," Claire Sauvanaud, vice president of Capgemini Financial Services, told a news conference.
Wealth fell most significantly last year in Hong Kong (20.1 percent) and India (18 percent) and grew most strongly in Thailand (9.3 percent) and Indonesia (5.3 percent). Growth was more modest in Japan (2.3 percent) and in China (1.8 percent).
Weakness in Europe and other global trends played their part in the slight fall in total Asian wealth, the report said, but the "region grappled with its own economic challenges, including inflation, slowing growth and capital outflows." Continued...