The monied continued to make money as the number of high net worth individuals and their investment assets continued to swell in 2004, according to the annual World Wealth Report released by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini on June 9th.
This elite group, with the entry requirement of at least $1 million financial assets, has increased 7.3% from 2003, bolstered by 600,000 new members to a global total of 8.3 million people. The rich and the very rich around the world gained 8.3% in assets and now jointly account for roughly $30.8 trillion. The growth rate in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and their wealth came in line with the exceptional global economic performance in 2004, the highest in 20 years. The jump was higher than the 2002 growth rates of 2.7% and 7.7% in 2003 and is expected to grow at slightly slow path of 6.5% compounded over the next five years, reaching $42.2 trillion by 2009, according to the report. Consequently, "the opportunities for financial advisory firms, despite what some people might have predicted several years ago, remain very robust and will for the next several years," said James P. Gorman, executive vice president of Merrill Lynch and the head of Corporate Acquisitions, Strategy and Research.