Key Findings of The World Ultra Wealth Report 2023
Now, let's turn our attention to some of the most eye-catching insights from the World Ultra Wealth Report 2023.
Decline and Caution in the UHNW Landscape
Decline in UHNW Population: The report reveals a 5.4% decline in the ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) population in 2022. This is the first drop since 2018, contrasting with robust global wealth creation between 2019 and 2021.
Focus on Wealth Preservation: In light of the decline, 2022 emerged as a year of caution, with wealth preservation taking centre stage for UHNW individuals.
Glimmers of Economic Resilience and Regional Variances
European and American Stability: Despite economic uncertainties, there are signs of resilience, particularly in European markets and consumer activity in the US and China.
Asian Dynamics and Exceptions: Despite setbacks in major Asian markets like Japan and Hong Kong, India stands out as a beacon of growth. It is the only country among the top 10 nations with the highest number of UHNW individuals to witness an increase in their UHNW population, with a growth rate of 3.2%.
Middle Eastern and Latin American Surges: Both the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean have seen impressive increases in their UHNW populations, with growth rates of 15.7% and 17.5% respectively since 2021. These regions are emerging as significant drivers of global wealth.
Optimistic Projections and Tentative Long-term Outlook
Optimistic Projections: The report extends a cautiously optimistic forecast, projecting an increase in the UHNW population to 528,100 by 2027. Concurrently, the share of global private wealth held by this group is expected to rise from 10.6% to 11.1%.
Tentative Long-term Outlook: This optimistic projection is corroborated by the conclusions of the report, based on data for the first half of 2023, pointing to a tentatively positive long-term outlook for wealth generation.
UHNW Individuals Among High Net Worth Individuals
Having highlighted key trends, let's now focus on how these Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals fit within the larger landscape of global wealth, as segmented into UHNW, Very High Net Worth (VHNW), and other High Net Worth (HNW) categories in the World Ultra Wealth Report 2023.
The chart highlights the exclusivity of the UHNW category, which represents just 1.14% of the total HNW population. Despite this, their share of the total wealth is a staggering 32.7%. This disproportionate concentration of wealth becomes even more apparent when considering that the billionaire class ($1bn+), which accounts for less than 1% of the UHNW population, holds 24% of all ultra wealth.
Delving further into the UHNW segment, it's notable that median wealth stands at $51m, although the average is significantly higher at $115m. A considerable 80% of this elite group has a net worth below $100m, while those with a net worth of $100m-$1bn make up a fifth of the UHNW population.
Global Geographic Distribution and Trends of Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals
After noting that Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals occupy a rather exclusive echelon, far surpassing other wealth categories in affluence, it's essential to examine the geographical spread of this extraordinary wealth. Regional factors are pivotal in its accumulation and preservation.
North America is home to 142,990 ultra-high-net-worth individuals, accounting for 36.2% of the global UHNW population.
This represents a decline of 4.0% in the UHNW population from 2021.
Despite this decrease, the region’s share of the global UHNW class has actually risen slightly in 2022, owing to even larger relative declines in the UHNW populations of both Asia and Europe.
North America currently boasts, and is forecasted to continue to have, the largest Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) population in the coming year. The region is characterised by a concentration of financial markets and technology innovation hubs. Cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Toronto serve as financial capitals, attracting wealthy individuals involved in various sectors.
Europe, with 100,850 UHNW individuals, accounts for 25.5% of the world's UHNW population.
The region has experienced a decline of 7.1% in its UHNW population from 2021, marking it as the second-worst regional performance after Asia. The Russia-Ukraine conflict dramatically destabilised Europe's economic landscape, contributing to this decline by triggering inflationary shocks, disrupting supply chains, and inducing a downturn that pressured wealth portfolios.
Overtaken by Asia in 2019, Europe faces the possibility of further decline in comparison to emerging markets. Despite this, the old continent remains a stronghold for both venerable family estates and burgeoning new wealth. Key cities such as London, Zurich, and Paris continue to be pivotal centres for finance, luxury goods, and culture.
Asia has 108,370 UHNW individuals, representing 27.4% of the global UHNW population.
This region has seen a significant decrease of 10.9% compared to 2021. China's stringent Covid lockdown and the Ukraine conflict's fallout curbed exports and consumer spending in Asia, particularly affecting tech markets in South Korea and Taiwan, while the strengthening U.S. dollar strained wealth portfolios.
Despite the significant downturn, Asia presents a contrasting landscape in its UHNW segment. While China experienced a modest decline of 7.1%, India stood out as the only top-10 wealth market to witness an increase, at 3.2% in UHNW individuals. In stark contrast, the major Asian wealth hubs of Japan and Hong Kong registered the most dramatic declines among the top 10 countries, plummeting by 21.9% and 23.0%, respectively, in their ultra-wealthy populations.
The Middle East has 21,640 UHNW individuals, accounting for 5.5% of the global tally.
The region has seen an impressive increase of 15.7% from 2021.
Wealth in this region is heavily influenced by oil and gas reserves, but there is a noticeable shift towards diversification, especially into tech and renewable energy.
United Arab Emirates
Oil and Gas
Latin America and the Caribbean
This region is home to 11,560 UHNW individuals, constituting approximately 2.9% of the global UHNW population.
The area has witnessed an exceptional increase of 17.5% in this demographic compared to 2021, partly fuelled by recovery from the slump experienced in 2020. This growth rate is the strongest among all regions.
Latin America offers a range of opportunities, especially in natural resources and agriculture, but also increasingly in tech sectors.
Africa has 3,020 UHNW individuals, making up 0.8% of the global UHNW population.
This region has witnessed a decrease of 4.4% since 2021.
The continent is rich in natural resources, and sectors like mining and agriculture are the most lucrative.
The Pacific region, including countries such as Australia and New Zealand, is home to 6,640 Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals, accounting for approximately 1.7% of the global UHNW population.
Compared to 2021, there has been a decline of 4.6% in the number of UHNW individuals in this region.
The region is marked by stable economies and a focus on sectors like real estate, natural resources, and technology.
Who Are the UHNW Individuals? (Archetypes)
The World Ultra Wealth Report 2023 categorises the UHNW landscape into distinct archetypes, primarily distinguished by the manner in which they've acquired their wealth. This, in turn, manifests in differing characteristics, investment preferences, and lifestyle choices. Let's explore these unique classifications in further detail.
UHNW Entrepreneurs are individuals who've amassed significant wealth through entrepreneurial efforts, often by owning substantial stakes in companies. Their career paths may include periods of employment, especially post-public offering or sale of their companies.
Median Wealth: $77.7m
Gender Proportion: Women 8.8% / Men 91.2%
Banking and Finance: 25.3%
Business and Consumer Services: 13.1%
Real Estate: 6.6%
UHNW Corporate Executives
These are individuals who occupy high-ranking positions in corporations but have not primarily generated their wealth through entrepreneurship. Their wealth stems from earnings, bonuses, and stock options.
Median Wealth: $40.9m
Gender Proportion: Women 7.6% / Men 92.4%
Banking and Finance: 25.5%
Business and Consumer Services: 11.5%
Real Estate: 7.5%
UHNW Sole Inheritors
Sole inheritors are those who have acquired their wealth solely through inheritance. These individuals have not built their fortunes but rather have had them passed down, often across multiple generations.
Median Wealth: $52.4m
Gender Proportion: Women 39.2% / Men 60.8%
Non-profit and Social Organisations: 22.1%
Banking and Finance: 12.0%
Business and Consumer Services: 10.4%
The primary industry is the sector where each of these archetypes spends most of their time, and it can diverge from the industry that generated their wealth. UHNW Entrepreneurs and UHNW Corporate Executives display similar trends, with Banking and Finance and Business and Consumer Services being heavily represented.
Conversely, UHNW Sole Inheritors show a distinct leaning towards Non-profit and Social Organisations. This divergence can be explained in part by a greater sense of obligation along with a higher proportion of women in this group, who are generally more inclined towards non-profit endeavours.
UHNW and Private Jet Ownership
The realm of private jet ownership offers intriguing insights into the lifestyles and preferences of the ultra-wealthy. According to data, executives form the largest segment of UHNW jet owners, accounting for 62 out of every 100. These jets often serve a dual purpose, accommodating both business and leisure travel.
|Private Jets Owned per 100 UHNW Individuals
|UHNW Corporate Executives
|UHNW Sole Inheritors
|Rest of UHNW Population
While executives lead in jet ownership, entrepreneurs, despite forming a smaller cohort, show a significant presence too, owning 25 out of every 100 private jets among UHNW individuals. This is consistent with their tendency to invest in other luxury assets like yachts and art collections, amplified by their higher median wealth. Sole inheritors and the rest of the UHNW population are less represented, each accounting for 7 and 6 jet owners per 100, respectively.
In summary, the landscape of global ultra-high-net-worth individuals is as varied as it is fascinating. Despite an overall decline in their numbers in 2022, the UHNW population shows signs of resilience and adaptability. The concentrations of wealth are far from uniform, varying significantly by region and even by the nature of the wealth itself—be it self-made or inherited. While North America remains a stronghold for the ultra-wealthy, economic dynamics in regions like Asia and the Middle East are changing the game.
Whether they are entrepreneurs, executives, or inheritors, the ultra-wealthy are a nuanced group with diverse investment and lifestyle preferences, as evident from their varied approach to private jet ownership. As we navigate the economic uncertainties of the post-pandemic world, keeping an eye on this influential demographic becomes increasingly important. Their choices, after all, often serve as a barometer for broader economic trends and potential future developments.