The number of millionaires worldwide is predicted to increase over the next five years, according to the 2024 Global Wealth Report from UBS. The report states that the number of adults who own $1 million or more is expected to rise in 52 out of 56 developed and developing economies surveyed between 2023 and 2028. The countries leading this growth include tech-centric Taiwan, with a projected 47% increase in millionaires, followed by Turkey (43%), Kazakhstan (37%), Indonesia (32%), and Japan (28%). However, countries like the U.K. are forecasted to see a decline in the number of millionaires by 17%.

Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, points out that the U.K. has the third highest number of dollar millionaires globally, which he believes is disproportionate to its economic standing. While countries like France and Italy are experiencing natural growth in the number of millionaires, the U.K. is facing challenges such as capital outflows and geopolitical factors. Sanctions against Russia, changes in tax regimes, and the increasing migration of wealthy individuals to low-tax havens like Dubai and Singapore are impacting the millionaire population in the U.K.

UBS found that global wealth growth rebounded in 2023, with a 4.2% increase following a 3% decline in 2022. The EMEA region led this recovery with a 4.8% growth rate. Despite overall improvements in wealth mobility, the report highlights growing wealth inequality in many countries. While there is an increase in average wealth, there is also a sharp decline in median wealth, indicating a concentration of wealth among the richest individuals. This disparity is most pronounced in countries like France, Mexico, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S., Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates.

Trends in Wealth Transfer

Apart from the traditional intergenerational transfer of wealth, UBS’s report sheds light on the horizontal transfer of wealth to spouses. Approximately $9 trillion of the estimated $83 trillion expected to be passed on over the next two decades will be transferred intra-generationally. With longer life expectancies and age differences between spouses, a significant portion of wealth will be inherited by women. In many cases, spouses are projected to hold onto this inheritance for around four years before passing it on.

The landscape of global millionaires is evolving, with different countries experiencing varying trends in millionaire growth. Geopolitical factors, economic policies, and wealth transfer dynamics are all contributing to shifts in the distribution of wealth. It remains essential for policymakers and financial institutions to adapt to these changes and address the growing wealth inequality to ensure sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all.


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