Study Says U.S. Losing Millionaires As BRIC Countries Gain Them

A new study reveals that the number of rich people in the United States is declining and the number of millionaires in other countries is growing.

Mostly from the United States, North America lost almost 1 percent of its private wealth in 2011, dropping to $38 trillion in total private assets. Last year in the U.S., the number of millionaire, and those with $100 million in assets, households decreased, according to a new study from Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm.

The developing world led by the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — saw a 10 percent increase in overall private wealth because of their strong GDP growth.

China had a 15 percent increase in the number of millionaire households in 2011, for a total of 1.4 million households with more than $1 million in assets. The number of such households also increased significantly in both India and Russia.

The study’s authors called it a “two-speed” world, with emerging markets driving the future growth of wealth, as the old world, including the United States, Western Europe and Japan, loses wealth in the coming years.

Financial services and traditional wealth managers must look to these new markets in order to increase profits, said Monish Kumar, a senior partner with BCG. Alreadybanks in Asia are gearing up to capture newly wealthy clients, according to a recent story in the New York Times.

Retailers also increasingly look to foreign markets to drive revenue. Luxury brands are making a big push for newly wealthy Chinese customers, and high-end American department stores are catering to rich foreign tourists.

Even if it seems like America’s wealthy are losing ground, the U.S. still ranks first for number of millionaires, with more than 5.1 million households qualifying, according to the report. Japan ranks second with 1.6 million millionaire households.

Overall, just 1 percent of the world’s households controls 40 percent of the world’s private wealth, the study said.



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