Billionaire wealth shatters $6tr barrier for first time

Asian billionaires lead the pack for first time – and half are from ChinaMore

Asian billionaires lead the pack for first time – and half are from ChinaMore

'Looking further forward, we estimate that $2.4trillion (2.1 trillion euros) of billionaire wealth will be transferred in the next two decades as billionaires age, with a significant amount going to philanthropic causes, ' the report said.

The US might be the wealthiest country in the world, but it's not churning out the most billionaires. Of those, 10% were recruited by the newly rich, said the report, which surveyed 1,542 billionaires from 14 markets with an average wealth of $3.9 billion.

Last year America had 563 billionaires while Asia had 637, a report by financial services firm UBS and auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers found. Additionally, most of these billionaires are sole or part owners of companies that directly employ 27.7 million people, about equal to the working population of the U.K., CNBC adds. In Asia, the wealth of billionaires added up to to $2 trillion, up from $1.5 trillion in 2015.

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With 162 newcomers joining the billionaire club in 2016, the Asia-Pacific region has surpassed the US for the first time as the home of the world's super-rich, according to a study released Thursday by the Swiss private bank UBS and global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Three-quarters of the world's new billionaires hail from China and India. China added a net new 67 billionaires a year ago compared with 25 net new billionaires in the U.S. "Dramatic growth in Asian wealth shows it could overtake the United States in just four years". "The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic". "For numerous first generation of entrepreneurs, a major focus is bringing the business to the capital markets, raising funds and M&A", she said, adding that the Swiss bank sees Greater China as a "crucial" wealth management market.

"In China, one billionaire is created every three weeks", Qiong Zhang, head of wealth management for UBS Securities in China, said in an interview.

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That is, entrepreneurial billionaires beat the markets by being in industries that posted above-average gains in 2016.

Europe's number was basically flat at 342 in part due to death and because "entrepreneurial companies can find Europe a hard place to do business due to both the conservative business culture and strict regulations", UBS said.

The major driver of wealth in Asia, according to the report, was technology.

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Peer networks are playing an increasingly important role for billionaires when it comes to making and giving away money, the survey said. Moreover, the wealth possessed by them increased from $5.1 trillion to $6 trillion.

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