Billionaire wealth returns to growth

29 October, 2017, 03:55 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Jack Ma

The report said the world's billionaires, most of whom own part or all of their own companies, directly employ 27.7 million people, equal to the working population of the United Kingdom. The new entrants on the list in 2016 employ at least 2.8 million people.

The survey also showed that billionaires are becoming more engaged in the arts and, increasingly, investing in sports clubs. "While not a fresh phenomenon, private museums are growing in number, especially in Asia", the annual UBS report said.

If these trends continue, it will take only four years for the total wealth of Asia's billionaires to overtake USA billionaires, according to UBS. "Dramatic growth in Asian wealth shows it could overtake the U.S. in just four years".

"The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic".

Asia saw 117 people break the billion-dollar mark in 2016, bringing the most populous continent's total to 637. Today's billionaires also feel a responsibility to drive social and economic impact - whether that means creating a private museum to promote the arts or buying a professional sports team to promote a passion. The latter was second only to consumer retail as a source, creating 23% more wealth compared to a year ago.

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The number of billionaires worldwide rose above 1,500 past year, a 10 percent jump from 2015, due largely to a surge in Asia. Driven by additions in China and India, for the first time in history there are now more billionaires in Asia (637) than in the U.S. (563).

In Europe, the population of billionaires largely held steady in 2016; their collective wealth grew by 5% to just over $1.3 trillion. In 2016, U.S. billionaire wealth reached $2.8 trillion, up 15% from the year before.

Billionaire wealth grew at double the rate of the MSCI World Index, one of the broadest measures of global company performance, suggesting that the ultra-rich are amassing wealth at a faster rate than the less well off.

Tech billionaires have an average age of 47 - making them 12 years younger than their peers in consumer and retail.

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