Kingdom hosts largest Mideast market for ‘super-rich’ people

Kingdom hosts largest Mideast market for ‘super-rich’ people

UHNWJEDDAH: Saudi Arabia hosts the largest market of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNW) in the Middle East, representing 1,225 people holding a collective wealth of $227 billion, according to a global wealth intelligence report released Thursday.

Saudi Arabia ranks first among Middle East countries in World Ultra Wealth Report 2011, housing some 27 percent of the region’s super-rich segment.The report from Wealth-X, the global intelligence, prospecting and wealth diligence company, offers an analysis of individuals with a net worth of at least $30 million.It also forecast that the Kingdom’s sophisticated financial sector would lead to more wealth creation opportunities.Wealth-X highlighted the construction of King Abdullah Financial District of Riyadh, estimated to cost around $32 billion, as a key development and suggested that professionals targeting the UHNW segment should consider these areas as possible locations for new offices.

But it said there is a need to understand the investment choices of people including Shariah-compliant products and services.With stable political climate and positive growth outlook, Wealth-X said Saudi Arabia will remain the largest UHNW market in the Middle East.The report also highlighted the recent measures adopted by the government to spur more growth and better income distribution such as the $127 billion package, which will partly be used to build more homes.The Singapore-based firm estimates that there are 185,795 UHNW individuals globally, with a total net worth of $25 trillion.

The UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Israel are among the top five countries in the Middle East with the highest number of UHNW individuals.The UAE is second, with around 17 percent, Kuwait, Israel and Qatar represent 16 percent, seven percent and six percent of the Middle Eastern UHNW community, respectively.The countries are home to almost three quarters of all Middle Eastern UHNW individuals representing a combined net worth of $575 billion, Wealth-X said.Syria, Iraq and Oman follow behind with concentrated pockets of wealth, and are home to 5 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent of the region’s ultra-affluent population, respectively.The remaining Middle Eastern countries are home to 14 percent of al UHNW individuals in the region.

Weakth-X said the 4,490 UHNW individuals in the Middle East are nearly equivalent in number to the 4,725 ultra wealthy individuals in Brazil, but comparable to the total net worth of $675 billion in Russia.It noted that the economies of Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and Yemen are undergoing dramatic political, economic, and in some cases, security transformations. These countries alone represent 970 UHNW individuals with $119 billion of net worth.“While many UHNW families have had their wealth positioned beyond the reach of principal destruction, many still depend on private and public companies in the Middle East as substantial sources of income,” the report pointed out.

Wealth-X estimates that there are 1,235 billionaires globally, with a combined net worth of $4.18 trillion. It says 2.5 percent of the total UHNW population worldwide are worth $500 million and above. They control 25 percent of the total fortunes of the super rich.Wealth-X estimates that Qatar is the fifth largest UHNW market in the Middle East, with a collective net worth of $45 billion.“We estimate Qatar will experience the fastest growth rate in both UHNW population and total wealth during the next 10 years,” it said.It said continued demand for energy and a boom in infrastructure development will help the economy meet the central bank’s growth target of 15.7 percent.

While the world’s largest producer of liquefied petroleum gas represents only about 7 percent of the UHNW population in the Middle East, Qatar will see major infrastructure developments that can help sustain strong expansion and add to the fortunes of the ultra affluent Qataris.With more roads, airports, stadiums and hotels to be built, Qatari companies will benefit — giving birth to new UHNW individuals and lining the pockets of existing millionaires.Investment opportunities will arise in line with the IMF’s forecast that Qatar will be the world’s fastest growing economy for the second consecutive year in 2011.

Wealth-X said North America is home to 62,960 UHNW individuals, and constitutes the largest concentration of UHNW wealth in the world. This region accounts for nearly 33 percent of the total $25 trillion held by the world’s UHNW segment.Europe has the second largest population of UHNW individuals. The region’s 54,325 UHNW individuals have a collective fortune of $6.8 trillion.Wealth-X forecasts that the UHNW population in Asia-Pacific will surpass that of Europe in 2024 and overtake that of the US in 2032. Asia-Pacific, with its 42,525 UHNW individuals, represents $6.2 trillion.

Wealth-X provides its members with qualified prospects and intelligence on ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals, along with the privately held-companies they control.The company claims it works with seven of the top 10 global private banks, leading educational institutions, not-for-profits and luxury brands.Wealth-X offers exclusive details on ultra wealthy individuals, including their wealth, income, passions, philanthropic interests, affiliations, politics, advisers, families and biographies. Wealth-X is the global leader on UHNW individuals and the worldwide standard for professionals working with the ultra affluent.Headquartered in Singapore, Wealth-X has offices in New York, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Lugano, Sydney and London.