As of 2017, there were as many as 36 million individuals whose net worth totaled over one million U.S. dollars. The net worth of an individual takes into consideration an individual’s financial assets such as a property, land, stocks, bonds etc. minus their debts and/or liabilities. These 36 million people are considered to be High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI), a classification which typically refers to individuals worth more than one million U.S. dollars. An ultra HNWI refers to individuals whose net worth is typically more than 30 million U.S. dollars.
So where are the majority of the world’s assets and where are the wealthiest individuals? The combined assets of millionaires are relatively evenly distributed between North America, the Asia-Pacific and then Europe - and growing. However, the number of ultra HNWIs was far greater in North America, almost twice that of Europe and more than three times that of the Asia-Pacific in 2017. Most ultra HNWIs also came from the United States.
So what assets and investments compose the net worth of these individuals? In 2018, in assets of North American HNWIs were allocated principally to equity (stocks), followed by cash and cash equivalents (money market instruments), fixed income (bonds) and real estate. In 2017, these individuals had on average 2.9 homes.
The last question involves who advises the wealthy. The most valuable asset/wealth management banking brands as of February 2017 included UBS, Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch. Interestingly, most wealthy people under 35 years expected their wealth management firm to manage and allocate their portfolio in a socially responsible manner.