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Monday 2nd July 2018

Further record wealth but major industry disruption on the horizon

Global high net worth individual (HNWI*) wealth grew 10.6% to surpass US$70 trillion for the first time in 2017 - the sixth year of consecutive gain - according to Cap Gemini's annual World Wealth Report released today, a leading benchmark for tracking high net worth individuals (HNWIs) now in its 22nd year.

Asia-Pacific and North America powered the growth delivering an increase in HNWI financial wealth of 41.4% and 27.4% respectively. Europe came in third with Ireland leading the way therein generating 15.3% HNWI population growth and 16.3% HNWI wealth growth, according to the detailed 56-page report.

The U.S, Japan, Germany and China represented 61.2% of gloal HNWI population in 2017, and also accounted for 62% of all new HNWI created globally in 2017.

HNWIs enjoyed investment returns above 20% for the second year in a row with clients in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) and Latin America realizing the best returns according to Cap Gemini. Based on positive growth trends, the report predicts global HNWI wealth will exceed US$100 trillion by 2025.

The major disruptor identified for the wealth management industry is Big Tech**. Cap Gemini's research found that more than 50 per cent of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) globally are interested in Big Tech wealth management. Interest is highest among and Latin America and Asia-Pacific HNWIs.

Firms such as Amazon and Google developing artificial intelligence and intelligent automation are expected in the wealth management market place imminently, although a collaborative or competitive-blend approach is anticipated at first, whereby wealth managers will likely leverage the BigTechs' operational scale and technology by out-sourcing back office processes to them.

"There is a consensus among wealth management executives that Big Tech entry into wealth management will be led by Asia-Pacific, followed by North America and eventually Europe," noted the report.

Nearly 80 per cent of HNWIs globally said they would be willing to begin a wealth management relationship with a Big Tech firm within a year.
Asset allocation remained stable though real estate increased to third-largest asset class with residential property more sought-after than commercial property for over 40 year olds. Key HNWI concerns  - unease over political and economic uncertainty - continue to drive their key investment decisions such as booking wealth offshore.

All of which continues to underpin the expansion of citizenship and residency programs internationally. There are almost 80 programs worldwide now and the Caribbean programs in particular are without question some of the most active and successful.

Read the full release here.


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