The credit crunch is transforming the global map of the world’s wealthiest people, with Europe nudging out North America as the richest region, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
According to the report titled "Delivering on the Client Promise: Global Wealth 2009," global wealth fell from $104.7 trillion in 2007, measured in assets under management (AuM), to $92.4 trillion in 2008—a decline of 11.7%. It was the first decline since 2001. The steepest decline was in North America, where wealth plummeted by 21.8% last year.
The number of millionaire households worldwide fell from 11 million to about 9 million—a drop of 17.8%. The decline was steepest in North America and Europe, at 22% in both regions, although the United States continued to have the most millionaire households—nearly 4 million.
Singapore had the highest concentration of millionaires, with 8.5% of the country’s households owning more than $1 million. Meanwhile, three of the six densest millionaire populations were in the Middle East—in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
“Wealth will begin a slow recovery in 2010 but may not reach its precrisis level until 2013,” says Peter Damisch, a BCG partner and a coauthor of the report. “We expect wealth to grow at an average annual rate of about 4% from year-end 2008 through 2013.”
Damisch notes that wealth will grow fastest in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) at 9.5% per year over the same period.