Asia Pacific Rich List

Asia Pacific Rich List

A recent report by Merrill Lynch shows the number of Australian high net worth individuals (HNWI) has soared by thirty four percent since last year.

The Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini fifth Annual Asia-Pacific Wealth report shows that the number of Australian HNWI has grown by thirty four percent to 173,600 with combined wealth being thirty seven percent higher at 519.4 billion USD.

HNWI are defined as having investable assets of one million USD or more – excluding their primary residence.

The statistics also show that Japan has the largest HNWI population in the Asia Pacific region with China coming in second, with an increase of thirty one percent.

The combined wealth of Asia Pacific’s top three countries, Japan, China and Australia, accounted for seventy six percent of the regions HNWI population in 2009 and seventy percent of its wealth.

Hong Kong and India also recorded a surge in high net worth population and wealth last year.

The report concludes that Australian HNWI were also the largest investors in real estate within the region, with over forty percent of their assets being held in property.

“Australian high net worth individuals turned the risk switch off in 2009, with investors perceiving real estate to be less volatile than many other forms of investment.  This is a trend that has continued through 2010” comments Peter Opie, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s senior vice president of investments.

Luxury collectables such as prestige cars, yachts and jets accounted for thirty two percent of total purchases by Australian investors, followed by art which made up a further twenty six percent.

The number of Asia Pacific HNWI is expected to rise even further as the region catches up with Europe’s wealthy population.  Currently the accrued wealth of HNWI in the region has reached 9.7 trillion USD, surpassing Europe’s combined HNWI wealth of 9.5 trillion USD.

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