The number of millionaires in the world rose 6.5% in 2005 to a total of 8.7 million people with combined total assets of $33.6 trillion, a survey by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini found. Their net worth is double from 10 years ago, when the two companies began the annual survey of people with financial assets of $1 million or more.

The new rich grew at the fastest pace in South Korea (up 21.3%), followed by India (19.3%), Russia (17.4%) and South Africa (15.9%). Brazil and China are also experiencing increases in affluence. What's driving the wealth upsurge is oil, real estate and stocks.

And among the ultra-rich, those with $30 million or more in financial assets, the growth last year was even staggering. They now number 85,400, up 8.9% from the year before.

Since the increase in the number of millionaires is greater outside the United States and Europe, it is having a dampening effect on their economies--and encouraging more asset management firms to look elsewhere for business, The Globe and Mail reports. Among those looking to grow internationally is UBS, which has just acquired a Russian banking license and is looking to buy a stake in Beijing Securities. Earlier this year, UBS acquired Banco Pactual of Brazil.

BMO is also looking earnestly overseas. In 2003, it bought a minority stake in Chinese mutual fund company Fullgoal Fund Management. Merrill Lynch is also in talks to establish joint ventures in a number of foreign markets. Last December, it raised its stake in a leading Indian broker to 90%, and earlier this year, it formed a joint venture in Japan with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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