Asia-Pacific Narrows North America’s lead in High Net Worth Population

Improving economic and equity market performance helped add 1.76 million people to the global High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) 1 population in 2013, while the investable wealth of HNWIs grew by nearly 14 per cent to reach a record high of US$52.62 trillion, according to the World Wealth Report 2014 (WWR) released today by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. The report notes that the 15 per cent increase in HNWI population in 2013 is the second-largest since 2000, surpassed only by immediate post-crisis catch-up growth of 17 per cent in 2009.

North America and Asia-Pacific remained in a close race for the world’s largest HNWI market by population in 2013, with growth in Asia-Pacific narrowing North America’s lead to less than 10,000 individuals. North America’s HNWI population expanded by 16 per cent to 4.33 million, while Asia-Pacific’s grew by 17 per cent to reach 4.32 million. North America remains the wealthiest region, increasing its HNWI wealth by 17 per cent to reach US$14.88 trillion, though this growth was again outpaced by Asia-Pacific, where HNWI wealth expanded by 18 per cent to US$14.20 trillion. In Canada, the total number of HNWIs increased by 7.2 per cent to reach 320 thousand and their wealth by 9.1 per cent to reach US$979 billion. Europe’s HNWI population grew by 12 per cent to reach 3.83 million and their wealth by 14 per cent to reach US$12.39 trillion, both significant increases from the previous two years. Latin America was again an exception to strong global growth, with increases of four per cent in population and two per cent in wealth, due to slow GDP growth and challenged equity markets.

“Overall, 2013 was another strong year for the High Net Worth market, with surging equity markets and improving economies contributing to double digit growth in both population and wealth levels,” said M. George Lewis, group head, RBC Wealth Management & RBC Insurance. “Looking at longer term growth trends, nearly 40 per cent of the current level of High Net Worth wealth has been created in the past five years alone.”