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Global billionaire population reaches a record 2,170

The inaugural census 2013 reveals that the global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013 and total billionaire wealth in Asia surged nearly 13 percent, making it the fastest-growing region.

At current growth rates, the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, the first-ever comprehensive global study on this ultra wealth tier, forecasts that Asia will catch up with North America in five years. Asia also saw the highest percentage rise in billionaire population (3.7% from 2012) and total wealth (13%) in 2013, suggesting that it is driving the tectonic shifts in wealth globally.

The report also shows that 810 individuals became billionaires since the 2009 global financial crisis. The billionaire population’s combined net worth more than doubled from US$3.1 trillion in 2009 to US$6.5 trillion in 2013 – enough to fund the United States budget deficit until 2024, and greater than the GDP of every country except the United States and China.

The report – which looks at the global billionaire population from July 2012 to June 2013 – examines this tier of the ultra affluent population by region, country, gender and the sources of their wealth.

Below are other key findings from the inaugural report:

  • The global billionaire population rose by 0.5 percent and their total wealth increased by 5.3 percent in the past year.
  • Europe is home to the most billionaires (766 individuals). However, North America has the most billionaire wealth (US$2,158 billion).
  • Asia contributed the largest number of new billionaires (18) this year, followed by North America (11).
  • Latin America is the slowest growing region in terms of billionaire wealth, increasing by just 2.3 percent in the past year.
  • As of 2013, the average net worth of the world’s billionaires is US$3 billion.
  • Globally, there are 111 individuals who each have a net worth that exceeds US$10 billion. Their combined net worth is over US$1.9 trillion, greater than the GDP of Canada.
  • Despite popular notions of billionaires being jet-setting, cosmopolitan individuals, most billionaires are still based in the same locations where they were raised.
  • 60 percent of billionaires are self-made, while 40 percent inherited their wealth or grew their fortunes from inheritance.
  • Only 17 percent of female billionaires are self-made, while 71 percent gained their fortunes through inheritance.

“UBS has had the privilege of serving the world’s most successful families for more than 150 years, and we are delighted to partner with Wealth-X in presenting the first Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census,” said Chi-Won Yoon, CEO of UBS Asia Pacific. “In Asia, most billionaires are entrepreneurs who remain heavily involved in their family businesses. UBS is uniquely positioned to meet the demands of this highly sophisticated clientele by offering world-class capabilities seamlessly integrated across our wealth management, investment bank and global asset management businesses.”

Graff Diamonds, Fall Winter 2013

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