2015 was not, as it turns out, a great year for the world’s ultra high net worth individuals—except those at the very top.*
According to Wealth-X’s World Ultra Wealth Report 2015-2016,
the world’s ultra wealthy population experienced almost flat growth as the number of individuals with US$30 million or more in net assets grew just 0.6% and total ultra high net worth (UHNW) wealth increased by 0.8%.
In particular, the slump in energy and commodity prices from mid-2015 onward negatively affected the ultra wealthy in certain countries, with Russia and Australia experiencing double-digit declines in both UHNW population numbers and total UHNW wealth as a result.
But the highest ranks of the ultra high net worth population—individuals with at least US$1 billion in net assets—saw their wealth grow 5.4 percent. That was more than double the rate of global economic growth. Meanwhile, all other tiers saw their wealth actually shrink by 0.6 percent.
Clearly, the wealth across nations is unequally distributed, with the ultra wealthy accounting for just 0.004 percent of the world’s adult population but controlling 12 percent of its wealth. And, in 2015, wealth became more unequally distributed even among the tiny groups of ultra wealthy individuals.
*Wealth-X defines ultra high net worth individuals as those with US$30 million or more in net assets.