Europe topples North America as world's richest region

According to the BCG study, the crisis is transforming the global map of the world's wealthiest people and has led to Europe nudging out North America as the richest region.
Europe's wealth measured in terms of asset under management (AUM) stood at USD 32.7 trillion in 2008, followed by North America with USD 29.3 trillion.

Meanwhile, the global wealth measured in assets under management (AUM) dropped by 11.7 per cent to USD 92.4 trillion in 2008 compared to USD 104.7 trillion in 2007, the report revealed.
"Wealth will begin a slow recovery in 2010 but may not reach its pre-crisis level until 2013. We expect wealth to grow at an average annual rate of about four per cent from year-end 2008 through 2013," BCG partner and a co-author of the report Peter Damisch said.
"Wealth will grow fastest in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) at 9.5 per cent per a year over the same period, " he added.
The steepest decline of 21.8 per cent in wealth was witnessed in North America in 2008 over the previous year.

In North America, the share of wealth held in equities fell to 38 per cent in 2008 from 50 per cent in 2007, but the region continues to hold the highest proportion of wealth in equities.
Despite moving ahead of North America, Europe saw a decline in wealth of 5.8 per cent from the previous year, the BCG report said.

Interestingly, Latin America was the only region where wealth increased with AUM growing by three per cent in 2008.
The number of millionaire households worldwide fell 17.8 per cent to about nine million in 2008 from 11 million in the previous year.

The decline was steepest in North America and Europe, at 22 per cent in both regions, although the US continued to have the most millionaire households at nearly four million.
The report stated that Singapore had the highest concentration of millionaires, with 8.5 per cent of country's households owning more than USD one million.
Moreover, three of the six densest millionaire populations were in the Middle East-—Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

Interestingly, the crisis narrowed the gap between the wealthy and the non-wealthy. Wealth owned by households with less than USD 100,000 in AUM increased by two per cent in 2008, while it declined in all other segments.
Among households with more than USD five million in AUM, wealth fell by 21.5 per cent.

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