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In the money


Average Swiss wealth hits record high

My other car's also a Ferrari: this model is parked in central Geneva (Keystone)

My other car's also a Ferrari: this model is parked in central Geneva

(Keystone)

The average Swiss adult is worth a world-beating $513,000 (CHF467,000), seeing off competition from Australia, Norway and Luxembourg, according to the 2013 Credit Suisse Wealth Report.

Average global wealth also established a new high at $51,600 per adult, the first time this has passed the $50,000 threshold since 2007.

However, this average global value masks considerable variation across countries and regions. The richest nations, with wealth per adult over $100,000, are found in North America, Western Europe and among the rich Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern countries.

They are headed by Switzerland, which in 2011 became the first country to see average wealth exceed $500,000. It dropped below this mark in 2012, but this year equity price rises have resulted in a new peak value of $513,000 per adult.

Australia ($403,000), Norway ($380,000) and Luxembourg ($315,000) all experienced an increase in wealth per adult and retain their respective second, third and fourth places from 2012.

The United States, Sweden, France, Singapore, Belgium and Denmark are close behind, with average wealth per adult in the $250,000 to $300,000 range. A year ago, Japan moved up to fourth place in the table, but it has now been demoted and no longer ranks among the top ten countries.

Inequality

Despite a decade of negative real returns on equities, several equity bear markets and the collapse of housing bubbles, the 2013 Credit Suisse Wealth Report found that global wealth has more than doubled since 2000, reaching a new all-time high of $241 trillion.

Strong economic growth and rising population levels in emerging nations are important drivers of this trend. But despite average wealth per adult hitting a new peak, inequality remains high.

The richest one per cent of the population controls 46 per cent of global wealth.

In Russia, 35 per cent of household wealth is owned by just 110 people, the highest level of inequality in the world barring small Caribbean nations.

The Credit Suisse report said that worldwide, billionaires account for just one to two per cent of total wealth. Russia has one billionaire for every $11 billion in wealth while in the rest of the world there is only one for $170 billion.

The fall of communism saw Russia’s most prized assets sold off to a small circle of businessmen later known as oligarchs. President Vladimir Putin allowed them to keep their wealth in exchange for political loyalty.

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