London: The Asia-Pacific region has for the first time overtaken North America both for the number of rich people and the wealth held by them, according to the annual world wealth report from consultancy firm Capgemini. Around the world, the number of “high net worth individuals” (HNWIs) – defined as those with investable assets of at least $1m (£675,000) excluding their main home, art collection, vintage sports cars and other collectibles – rose nearly 5% in 2015 to 15.4 million.
The combined wealth held by the global super-rich increased by 4% to $58.7tn, boosted by stock market gains in some parts of the world and higher property prices. However, the rate of growth in the wealth of HNWIs in North America slowed sharply last year, while in Brazil and Russia their numbers and wealth declined. The ranks of the world’s super-rich swelled to more than 15 million last year, led by Japan and China, where wealthy individuals appear to have prospered despite 2015’s stock market turmoil. The US still has the most HNWIs, almost 4.5 million. Japan is second, with 2.7 million, then Germany, with almost 1.2 million. China came fourth, with just over 1 million, followed by the UK, with 552,800 individuals, up 3,200 on 2014.