New World Wealth has published its South African Wealth Report for 2018, showing how wealth trends have shifted among the country’s richest people.
According to the report, South Africa is currently home to 43,600 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – people who have total wealth higher than $1 million – at the end of 2017.
This is up from the 40,400 recorded at the end of 2016, and climbing from the 38,500 recorded in 2015, when millionaire growth declined to levels last seen in the middle of the global economic crisis of 2008.
HNWI growth in 2017 was in-line with overall wealth growth in South Africa, where total private wealth increased from $670 billion at the end of 2016 to $722 billion at the end of 2017.
Of this, HNWI wealth rose from $284 billion to $306 billion, staying at 42% of total private wealth.
South Africa HNWI stats at the end of 2017
- Total private wealth held in SA amounts to approximately US$722 billion. Around US$306 billion of this is held by HNWIs.
- The average South African individual has net assets of US$12,900 (wealth per capita), which is the second highest level in Africa, behind Mauritius.
- SA is home to 43,600 HNWIs, each with net assets of US$1 million or more.
- SA is home to 2,200 multimillionaires, each with net assets of US$10 million or more.
- SA is home to five billionaires, each with net assets of US$1 billion or more.
The growth was supported by a strengthening rand (moving from R13.70 against the dollar to R12.20 by year end) and the JSE all share index gaining significantly – 30% in dollar terms.
However, the picture changes when looking at HNWI growth over a 10 year period.
Between 2007 and 2017, the number of dollar millionaires in South Africa only grew by 2%. While this takes into account the global crash in 2008, and the slow recovery thereafter – the political crisis of 2015 and 2016, where the Zuma government wreaked havoc on the economy, has also played a significant part more recently.
The 10 year-review was negatively hit by a depreciating rand (which slipped from R6.90 in 2007 to R12.30 at the end of 2017), a sluggish property market, and a poor performance from key sectors, especially mining, New World Wealth said.
On the flip-side, the JSE all share index increased by 17% over the period, while there was strong growth in the professional services sector, and the MSCI World Index grew by 43% – because many local HNWIs are invested overseas.
According to New World Wealth, over the next 10 years, HNWI growth in South Africa is forecast at 28% – on the back of recent, more positive political changes – expected to reach 56,000 dollar millionaires by 2027.
Supporting this growth is a well-developed wealth management, fund management and banking system, as well as a large, free media that helps investors by feeding them reliable information, New World Wealth said.
The country is also home to one of the 20 biggest stock exchanges in the world – the JSE – which is also one of the fastest-growing over the past 25 years, in terms of market capitalisation.
While other countries are starting to catch up, South Africa remains an important hub for doing business in Africa, the group said.