Billionaires saw wealth jump in 2017

2,158 billionaires (including 199 new self-made billionaires) grew their combined wealth to more than the GDP of Australia or Spain, and researchers also found a growing trend towards "business families" preserving and growing inherited wealth.

"As we work with our billionaire clients, numerous next generation seem highly motivated, committed to their chosen careers, the family business and/or doing social good", the report said. "Over the past five years, the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17% each year, to reach $117bn in 2017".

"UBS head of ultra-high-net -worth Ravi Raju said: "(Asia's) remarkable wealth creation presents an vast opportunity for UBS, which now has a relationship with three out of five billionaires in Asia". Despite healthy growth in the Americas and Europe, Chinese billionaires expanded their wealth at almost double the pace, growing by 39 percent to United States dollars 1.12 trillion.

Or, as the report puts it, "China's billionaires have high turnover".

In 2006, there were just 16 Chinese billionaires. Billionaires are responsible for 80% of the 40 most significant innovations over the last 40 years and last year, billionaires alone employed a larger workforce than the whole of the UK.

It said 97% of the Chinese billionaires were self-made, many of them in sectors such as technology and retail.

'In 2017, they equalled America's level of venture capital funding for start-ups, registered four times as many Artificial-Intelligence-related patents and three times as many blockchain and crypto-related patents as their USA counterparts'.

"Over little more than 10 years, they have created some of the world's largest companies, raised living standards and made fortunes at an unprecedented pace".

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'They are developing new business models, seizing opportunities, moving rapidly between business sectors'.

More than 300 Chinese companies went public a year ago, unlocking what UBS deems "stealth wealth", the difficult-to-measure wealth of people in private markets with little transparency.

According to the Billionaires Insight Report, "China's billionaire entrepreneurs are leading their country's economic transformation, and by extension that of the rest of Asia".

"Billionaires are embracing sustainable investing".

Worldwide, total billionaire wealth rose 19% to a record $8.9tn, shared among 2,158 individuals.

U.S. and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by 20% from their mid-summer 2018 levels.

There are 475 billionaires in Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, and 373 within mainland China.

"[Last year's] increase in billionaire wealth of 19 per cent was substantially higher than the average of 9 per cent in the previous five years", said Wyatt.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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