Asia overtakes North America in millionaires

SINGAPORE – The number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in the Asia-Pacific region rose 1.6 percent to 3.37 million in 2011, surpassing that of North America for the first time and becoming the world’s largest number, according to the Capgemini-Royal Bank of Canada World Wealth Report released Wednesday.

However, the amount of investable wealth held in the region was $10.7 trillion, which was still lower than the North America’s $11.4 trillion.

The HNWI is defined as those with $1 million or more at their disposal for investing.

In particular, the region’s “India and Hong Kong topped the list of countries losing HNWIs in 2011,” the report said. India’s HNWI population fell by 18 percent while that of Hong Kong saw a slide of 17.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s HNWI number drop by 7.8 percent to about 91,200, mainly due to drop in exports and loss in equity-market capitalization.

The report attributed the HNWI number’s fall to market volatility last year when market observers concerned that the eurozone’s debt crisis might overwhelm some larger economies. ” Investors focused on safety in 2011 as economic uncertainty weighed on sentiment,” the report said.

China Daily

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