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Exclusive club Switzerland moves up billionaire list

Geneva is home to the most billionaires in Switzerland

(Keystone)

What austerity? This year 155 more people around the world saw their wealth reach $1 billion (CHF933 million), pushing the total number of billionaires to 2,325. Of these, 86 live in Switzerland, 25 more than in 2013. 

Asia’s billionaires, led by Chinese tycoons, enjoyed the fastest increase in their wealth (18.7%) compared with their peers in the rest of the world, according to a report published on Wednesday by Wealth-Xexternal link, a research firm specialising in ultra-high net worth individuals, and Swiss bank UBSexternal link

Asia is now home to 560 billionaires, putting it in third place behind Europe (775) and North America (609). 

The combined wealth of the world’s billionaires reached $7.3 trillion, up 12%. The combined wealth of Switzerland’s 86 billionaires jumped from $128 billion to $200 billion. This helped Switzerland climb three places to seventh. 

Safe haven

The main reason for this impressive jump in Switzerland is the country’s reputation as a safe haven, according to Benjamin Kinnard at Wealth-X. 

“Many new billionaires moved [to Switzerland] from more volatile countries and regions in the world for greater stability,” Kinnard told swissinfo.ch. 

“The wealth per billionaire has increased by 10.8%, in line with that of the rest of Europe’s billionaires this year. This has principally been thanks to strong equity market performance in our timeframe (July 2013 to June 2014), raising the value of stakes held in both public and private companies alike.” 

Geneva’s 23 members of the exclusive club put the Swiss city in 15th place, far behind New York (103), Moscow (85), Hong Kong (82) and London (72). 

According to the report, the typical billionaire has about $3.1 billion, is 63 years old, male and did not reach the $1 billion threshold until their late 40s. Of the 2,325 billionaires, 286 are female. 

Only 5% of the ultra-rich have more than $10 billion.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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