A sightseeing ship on the Huangpu River in Shanghai. China's economic growth is creating millionaires at a fast clip every year. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
The number of millionaires worldwide grew by nearly 2 million
last year and the group grew nearly 14 percent richer,
boosted by rising stock markets and improving economies, a
new study shows.
The number of high net worth individuals, who have $1 million
or more to invest, rose 15 percent to 13.7 million in 2013,
and their combined wealth rose to $52.62 trillion, marking
five years of growth since the 2008 financial crisis,
according to Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management's latest
world wealth report.
While more millionaires call North America home than any
other region, Asia-Pacific was a close second and is expected
to overtake North America in 2014, led by surging wealth in
Japan, where stock and real estate markets gained, and China,
where economic growth adds millionaires at a fast clip every
The United States had the most millionaires, at 4 million,
followed by Japan with 2.3 million. Germany was third with
1.1 million, and China was fourth with 758,000. Those four
countries were home to about 60 percent of the world's
The population of global millionaires included 128,300
"ultra" high net worth individuals, who have more than $30
million of assets to invest. This segment, while only 0.9
percent of the wealthy population, holds 34.6 percent of the
group's combined wealth.
Beyond the four countries with the most millionaires, other
clusters of wealth growth stood out in 2013. Those included
oil-rich Norway and Kuwait, the financial centers of Hong
Kong and Singapore, and the emerging economic power houses of
India, Russia and Taiwan, all of which added to the
population of millionaires at a faster-than-average clip.
Europe and Latin America lagged, the report showed.
"It was the second-fastest growth in the population since
2000, and it does come back to 2013 in particular was a very
positive year for financial markets," George Lewis, group
head of wealth management and insurance at RBC, said on the
sidelines of the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in
The report was based on a survey of more than 4,500 high net
worth individuals across 23 countries.
While banks and wealth management firms compete fiercely for
the business of the growing population of millionaires, the
survey showed the wealthy gave their money managers lower
performance ratings than last year, down 4 percentage points
to 63 percent in early 2014.
They have also taken a more global mindset in early 2014 than
last year, allocating 37 percent of their assets outside of
their home region, up from 25 percent the prior year. But
cash levels remain high, at 27 percent, suggesting a
lingering caution after market losses five years ago -- and a
big reserve for investing when the time is right.
"It indicates a long memory from 2008 and 2009," Lewis said.
"But it also allows individuals to have some flexibility to
... be opportunistic when it comes to new asset acquisition."