Gas-rich Qatar has the highest density of millionaires in the world, where 143 out of every 1,000 households have private wealth of at least $1 million, followed by Switzerland (116), Kuwait (115), Hong Kong (94), and Singapore (82). The U.S. had the largest number of billionaires in 2012, but the highest density of billionaire households was in Hong Kong (15.1 per million), followed by Switzerland (9.4 per million).
Figures from Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Annual Global Wealth Management Report show that 14.3 percent of tiny Qatar’s households enjoyed private wealth worth at least, USD 1 million. Qatar was also ranked fourth in the world in terms of ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) households. These individuals boasted a wealth of more than USD 100-million in private wealth, with eight-out-of-100,000 households landing in this category.
Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE were also ranked among the list of top-10 countries with the most number of millionaires per capita. With 11.5 percent of the population millionaires, Kuwait was ranked third on the list. Bahrain placed in seventh spot with 4.9 percent and the UAE was ranked ninth with millionaires numbering 4 percent of the population.
In the list of UHNW’s, Kuwait and the UAE were positioned at seventh and fifteenth rank, respectively. Several family businesses in the Arab world have benefited from high oil prices and government initiatives to drive economic diversification. The report says private financial wealth across the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region touched USD 4.8 Trillion in 2012, higher by 9.1 percent from USD 4.4 Trillion in 2011.
In 2012, rich households in the MENA region preferred to hold their wealth in equities. Wealth held in equities grew by 18.3 percent in 2012, compared to an increase of 9.2 percent in bonds and 5.2 percent in cash and deposits. The report forecasts that private wealth in MENA will swell to USD 6.5 trillion by the end of 2017, with a projected CAGR of 6.2 percent.
Markus Massi; “The growth of private wealth in the region has been largely driven by a buoyant GCC equity market and an improvement in the global equity markets overall. The recovery of the local real estate markets has also helped to free up additional liquidity for financial investments.” — Markus Massi, partner and managing director at BCG Middle East