The rich are richer than ever. The number of dollar millionaires in Switzerland increased by almost 5% last year, putting it in seventh place in a global wealth ranking.
The number of dollar millionaires rose by 4.5% to 358,500, according to the latest World Wealth Report by consultants Capgemini. Switzerland thus remained in seventh position, pulling away from eighth-placed Canada, which saw the number of millionaires fall by 3% to 321,000.
Whereas Canada had experienced economic problems last year, in Switzerland rising property prices and a higher savings rate had driven asset growth, said Capgemini analyst Tobias Wolf on Thursday.
While the weak economy had acted as a brake in Switzerland, Wolf said the so-called Frankenshock – when the Swiss National Bank lifted the minimum exchange rate of CHF1.20 per euro on January 15, 2015 – hadn’t had an effect. The Swiss stock exchange reacted negatively for only a short period and the franc-dollar exchange rate had remained stable, he said on Thursday.
Dollar millionaires around the world last year amassed a total of $58,700 billion (CHF56,250 billion), 4% more than the previous year and a new record.
A strong economy and higher stock prices pushed the value of wealthy people’s assets up by 7.2%. Worldwide, the number of dollar millionaires increased in 2015 to 15.4 million, up 4.9%. To belong to this group, an individual needs assets of at least $1 million, not including owner-occupied property, paintings or luxury cars.
Problems in Latin America
For the first time the Asia-Pacific region overtook North America as the world’s richest region.
The total wealth of dollar millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region rose by 9.9% to $17,400 billion, while in North America it climbed by only 2.3% to $16,600 billion.
Europe remains in third position with $13,600 billion, up 4.8% on the previous year.
Millionaires in Latin America saw their accumulated wealth shrink by 3.7% to $7,400 billion as a result of the economic crisis and the financial problems in Brazil.
The country with the most millionaires remains – by some distance – the United States. Its 4.46 million millionaires were comfortably ahead of the 2.72 million in second-placed Japan.
China, in fourth place behind Germany, crossed the million millionaires threshold for the first time (1.03 million).
The forecast for the world’s rich looks good. Capgemini said the total wealth of millionaires should hit $100,000 billion by 2025.
swissinfo.ch and agencies