File image: IOL
File image: IOL

SA has over 1000 ultra high-net-worth individuals

By Philippa Larkin Time of article published Mar 8, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG -  South Africa has only 1033 individuals with wealth in the $30million range, called an  Ultra high-net-worth individual  (UHNWI), according to the Wealth Report 2020 launched last week by Knight Frank.

The report found that despite last year being a tumultuous year with declining economic global growth, the world’s UHNWI population rose by 6.4 percent, according to Knight Frank’s new Wealth Sizing Model.

Leading the top six UHNWIs was the US with 240575 individuals, followed by China (61587),  Germany (23 078), France (18776), Japan (17013) and the UK (14367).

In Africa South Africa had the most UHNWIs and ranked 35 while Nigeria ranked 44 with 724 individuals. Morocco ranked 70 had 215 individuals with Kenya at 113  with 42 UHNWIs, while Zambia ranked 180 with five individuals.

The report said economically, 2019 was outwardly a tumultuous year, with the International Monetary Fund reducing its forecast for global gross domestic product  growth from 3.5 percent in January 2019 to just 2.9 percent in January 2020 – a ten-year low.

Knight Frank said in its  Attitudes Survey,  63 percent of respondents said their clients’ wealth had increased in 2019, with only 11 percent reporting a decrease.

Globally, more than 31 000 additional UHNWIs were created in 2019, bringing the total to more than 513200. North America dominated, with more than double the UHNWI population of Europe. Asia was quickly closing the gap on

Europe and Knight Frank’s figures prediced  that by 2024 it would be the world’s second largest wealth hub, with forecast five-year growth of 44 percent.

“The expansion in wealth during 2019 is unsurprising, given the strong growth

seen in many asset classes. Equity markets, including stock exchanges in the

US, Germany and Australia, have seen double-digit growth, although the UK

and Japan saw more modest returns,” it said.

Over the next five years Knight Frank  forecast that global UHNWI numbers would  grow by 27 percent

Rory Penn, the head of  Knight Frank Private Office, said, “The next ten years have already been dubbed by some the new “roaring twenties” – and I am optimistic

that, with many positives to look forward to, they will live up to that soubriquet.”

He said among  the wealthy was a  growing focus on wellbeing, which presented many opportunities whether it was the investment potential of the global demographic trend towards longer, healthier lives or the ability

of forward-thinking property investors and landlords to capitalise on demand for “healthy” workspaces that boost productivity.

Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s global head of Research, said the dominant investment trends were: wellness; impact investing; and  ESG ( environmental,

social and governance).

While investment in “wellness” assets and services promoting healthier lifestyles is merely a reflection of a market opportunity, the more seismic change for investors is being brought about through the expansion of impact investment.


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