China making two billionaires every week
Malaysia has reached 14 billionaires this year, 2 more billionaires in Malaysia compare to last year, which increased 79% were from scratch.
The report by UBS and accountants PwC said there was so much money in the hands of the ultra-rich that a new wave of rich and powerful multigenerational families was being created.
“The past 30 years have seen far greater wealth creation than the Gilded Age,” the UBS Billionaires 2018 report said.
“That period bred generations of families in the US and Europe who went on to influence business, banking, politics, philanthropy and the arts for more than 100 years. With wealth set to pass from entrepreneurs to their heirs in the coming years, the 21st century multigenerational families are being created.”
The world’s 2,158 billionaires grew their combined wealth by US$1.4 trillion last year, more than the GDP of Spain or Australia, as booming stock markets helped the already very wealthy to achieve the “greatest absolute growth ever”.
More than 40 of the 179 new billionaires created last year inherited their wealth, and given the number of billionaires over 70 the report’s authors expect a further US$3.4 trillion to be handed down over the next 20 years.
“A major wealth transition has begun,” the report said. “Over the past five years, the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17 per cent each year, to reach US$117 billion in 2017. In that year alone, 44 heirs inherited more than a billion dollars each.
“The calculation is simple. There are 701 billionaires over the age of 70, whose wealth will transition to heirs and philanthropy over the next 20 years, given the statistical probability of average life expectancy.”
Most of the world’s billionaires are in the US, but the number of ultra-wealthy people is growing fast in China, where two new billionaires are minted every week.
“Twelve years ago, the world’s most populous country was home to only 16 billionaires,” the report said. “Today, as the ‘Chinese Century’ progresses, they number 373, nearly one in five of the global total.”
One Chinese billionaire told the researchers: “Nowhere else in the world can you find better conditions for growth than in China. The continued progress of wealth creation is supported by government policies liberating the economy, while urbanisation and business model disruption has crafted powerful new entrepreneurs.”
Globally, the 30 richest septuagenarians or older have a combined net worth of more than US$1 trillion.
David Rockefeller, the last surviving grandchild of the Standard Oil founder John D Rockefeller, who became the world’s first billionaire in 1916, died at the age of 101 last year with a US$3.3 billion fortune. An auction of the art and antiquities he and his wife collected – including pieces by Monet, Matisse and Picasso – raised more than US$832 million for charities they supported.
UBS said the adage that the first generation makes the fortune, the second generation preserves it and the third generation squanders no longer applies. Some families have kept vast fortunes for five or six generations, and some heirs have even increased the overall fortune, the report said.
“As we work with our billionaire clients, many of the next generation seem highly motivated, committed to their chosen careers, the family business and/or doing social good,” the report said.
One billionaire told the researchers: “The new generation, born in the internet era, are more willing to take risks. They have more information and can be more courageous about trying new ideas and being entrepreneurial.”
A 30-year-old billionaire heir said: “I think that my generation wants to achieve a more holistic life and shed some of the hypocrisies of previous generations. We want to have a return but with impact. Our investments should reflect who we are and what we believe.”
(Source: South China Morning Post - 26 Oct 2018)