The Super Rich Get Even Richer

A decade after the financial crash, an epic repeat is on course.

Two reports by Swiss banks, published within a week of each other, offer further revealing evidence on the growth of a wealthy transnational overclass. Credit Suisse finds that the fortunes of the very wealthiest people in the United Kingdom (those owning over $50 million) have been growing at a much faster rate than the general population.

These ultra-high-net wealth individuals (UHNWI) number 4,670, an increase of 8.5% over the year. In the United States, the number is 70,540, with over 6,000 joining that group, making it the largest such category in the world; the next is in China at 16,510. In global terms the richest 1% own just under half of total assets (see Gráinne Gilmore, “The world’s super rich populations are growing but where is growth strongest?”, KnightFrank, October 2018).

In parallel, a joint UBC-PwC report focuses less on UHNWIs overall than on the seriously super-rich, the world’s dollar billionaires. They now number 2,158 and collectively increased their wealth by $1.4 trillion in the past year. Much of the growth in wealth is taking place in the United States and western Europe, but a huge change in recent years is the increasingly transnational spread of the extremely wealthy, China again being a prime example. Twelve years ago, there were just 16 billionaires in the PRC; today there are 373.

– Naked Capitalism

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