The latest Capgemini Wealth Report for 2017 shows that 8,800 more South Africans joined the leagues of the super-wealthy in 2016, and have added US$139 million to the total net worth of the local pool of high-net-worth individuals – those whose assets are worth at least $1 million (R13.5 million).
According to Capgemini, there are 16.5 million high net worth individuals (HNWI) across the globe, who have a total net worth of $63.5 trillion. This is up from 15.36 million people in 2015, who had a total net worth of $58.7 trillion.
Global HNWI population and wealth expanded at rates of 7.5% and 8.2% respectively in 2016, significantly higher than the 2015 rates of 4.9% and 4.0%.
At current growth rates, HNWI wealth is expected to hit US$66 trillion in 2017, and reach as high as $106 trillion by 2025, the report said.
Capgemini defines HNWIs as those with investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding the primary residence, collectibles and consumables.
As with previous years, the United States, Japan, Germany and China boast the highest numbers and together make up for almost two-thirds of the total. Africa had the fewest wealthy individuals across all regions measured.
These are the largest HNWI markets in the world:
In Africa, the size of the HNWI population increased by 8.1% in 2016 (to 157,000 people), while wealth increased by 10.7% to US$ 1.5 trillion. Of this, South Africa’s richest make up the majority on both measures.
South Africa has 84,700 HNWIs, up 11.6% from 75,900 measured in 2015. These individuals account for US$1.2 trillion of the regional total, up 12.6% from US$1.08 trillion in 2015.
The average South African HNWI has a net worth of US$14.35 million (R194.2 million).
Where the super rich are putting their money
As part of its report, Capgemini also includes the results of its HNW Insights Survey, which shows how the world’s super wealthy invest their money, and in which regions they invest it.
For the 2017 survey, it showed that the bulk of millionaire investments were held in equities and cash (or cash equivalents), having seen a massive migration from the more diversified classes of 2015.
Fixed income investments stayed at the same levels, but there was a marked decrease and shift away from real estate and alternative investments.
When it comes to ‘investments of passion’, the world’s wealthy favour jewelry, gems and watches as their primary investments, followed by luxury goods and other collectables. Art and sports investments are the least popular, the report showed.
Looking at regional distribution, more than a quarter of all HNWI wealth is held in North America, followed by Western Europe, which holds 17.5% of the wealth.
Asia-Pacific (15.4%) and Japan (15.2%) are the next two largest regions, followed by Latin America (7.6%), Eastern Europe (6.8%), the Middle East (6.2%) and Africa (5.5%) trailing behind.