World Wealth Report 2011

By Cap Gemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 22 June 2011

We have reached a tipping point moment in the geography of global prosperity. There are now more millionaires in the Asia Pacific (which includes Australia) than there are in Europe. With this shift in wealth distribution comes the mantle of responsibility for reinvestment in community, culture and philanthropy more generally. Australia finds itself the society with the most developed civil society and philanthropic architecture in the region however far behind the US we know ourselves to be.

This report tracks the world’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs, defined as those with investible assets of US$1m or more excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables) and offers key insights into where the wealth is and the growth of HNWIs.

Shifts in wealth have implications for global philanthropy: from the urgency to develop the ‘ecology for philanthropy’ in new regions to new times tailored to a new generation of potential major donors.

First, what are the key statistics:

  • The HNWI community grew by more than 9.7% in 2010 to control over $42.7 trillion, surpassing pre-GFC levels
  • The population of HNWIs in the Asia-Pacific is now 3.3 million individuals, trailing only the US, for the first time a larger pool of people than in Europe
  • US HNWI wealth totalled $11.8 trillion compared to Asia Pacific US$10.8 trillion and Europe US$10.2 trillion
  • 53% of the world’s HNWIs reside in the US, Germany or Japan
  • Australia has the 9th largest number of HNWIs
  • 27% of global HNWIs are female (37% in the US and 24% in the Asia Pacific)
  • 17% of global HNWIs are under 45 but 41% in Asia Pacific are under 45. This result is influenced by Japan where 8% are under 45. Excluding Japan, the majority of HNWIs in the Asia Pacific are under 45
  • Ultra-HNWIs (defined as those having investible assets of US$30m or more) account for 36.1% of global wealth and represent 0.9% of the global population.

These shifts in the geography and demography of wealth highlight the importance of understanding the sociology of giving and pro-social behaviour in different cultural contexts. It may mean a greater role for Australian organisations given our more developed civil society and community benefit sector. It is time for us to explore expanding our services and reach into the Asia Pacific. A bold new world awaits.

To read the full report see: World-wealth-report-2011

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