Ultra-high-net-worth individuals, defined as those with a net worth of more than $30 million, in North America will outpace UHNW individuals in Asia-Pacific through 2032, according to Wealth-X’s "World Ultra Wealth Report 2011."

There are only a total of 185,795 individuals around the world in this bracket, controlling $25 trillion in wealth.

As for billionaires, there are a mere 1,235 of them around the world, controlling $4.18 trillion in wealth. The largest UHNW population has wealth between $30 million and $499 million, and this group comprises 97.5% of the world’s UHNW population.

Currently, the largest group of UHNW individuals resides in North America -- but following the financial crisis of 2008 and the ongoing market volatility in developed nations, Wealth-X projects that Asia-Pacific UHNW individuals will become the largest group by 2032.

North America is currently home to 62,690 UHNW individuals, constituting the largest concentration, $8.2 trillion, of UHNW wealth in the world. In the U.S., there are 57,860 UHNW individuals, holding $7.6 trillion of wealth.

While asset managers, luxury brands, foundations and endowments and not-for-profits must realize that even ultra-high-net-worth individuals have been impacted by the global recession, Wealth-X found that the “wealthy elite community is somewhat insulated from macro trends in the global economy, and, simply put, are in a class of their own.”

America’s financial elite are taking a far more conservative approach to investing, Wealth-X said. This group is “focused on preserving their wealth rather than taking on aggressive risk to rapidly grow their nest eggs.”

Perhaps more importantly for asset managers and private bankers, Wealth-X said that “more than ever before, the money of America’s richest is in motion. One in every three UHNW individuals is looking to change their asset manager or wealth advisor. The solution brings us back to the fundamental issues of trust and value—and the ultra rich’s search for a unique and exclusive experience.”

-- This article first appeared on Money Management Executive.



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