Super-rich added to their wealth during pandemic

Tech billionaires, such as Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, have seen their combined fortune grow by 42% to a whopping $1.8 trillion. Keystone / Alexander Becher

Those investing or innovating in the technology, health and industrial sectors did particularly well in the early months of the global Covid-19 outbreak, a report published on Wednesday by Swiss bank UBS revealed.

This content was published on October 7, 2020 - 16:11

Together the world’s richest people held a record $10.2 trillion at the end of July 2020, a 14.6% increase in wealth compared to 2017, thanks primarily to stock market rallies. Today there are 2,189 billionaires worldwide, up from 2,158 in 2017.

Of these, 37 reside in Switzerland and saw their assets grow by 29% between April and July 2020, to reach a combined fortune of CHF123.5 billion ($135 billion).

Among the biggest winners were those active in the health sector, said UBS, which conducted the survey together with accounting firm PwC. New treatments, innovations in diagnostics, and more recently, research on Covid-19, have helped them record a 50% increase in their wealth, to reach $658 billion.

But it is tech billionaires who sit on the biggest fortune – $1.8 trillion in all.

UBS reported that just over 200 of the world’s billionaires have publicly committed $7.2 billion to fight the pandemic and its social and economic fallout, although donations are likely to be higher.

This is the seventh such report by the Swiss bank on the wealth of billionaires. It looked at 2,000 billionaires in 43 different markets, representing 98% of the world’s super-rich population.   

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