RIYADH: The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) — those with $30 million or more — in Saudi Arabia surged 227 percent over the last five years, the fastest growth rate in the world.
According to The Wealth Report by real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank, the number of UHNWIs worldwide will increase by 27 percent in the next five years to 663,483, with the number of millionaires growing by 41 percent.
The report predicts that the number of UHNWIs in the Middle East will rise by 24.6 percent by 2025, with the region expected to remain the fourth-largest wealth hub in the world.
“The pandemic has impacted the fortunes of many in the Middle East, and the Middle Eastern HNWIs and UHNWIs were not spared, with the total number of each decreasing by 11.3 percent and 10.1 percent in 2020 respectively,” said Taimur Khan, head of research at Knight Frank Middle East.
“However, this decline was not uniform across all countries. In Saudi Arabia over this period, the number of UHNWIs increased by 9.6 percent, the 10th fastest growth rate globally. In fact, its UHNW population has grown by 227 percent over the last five years, the fastest growth rate globally over this period,” he added.
“As the region continues its various economic diversification programs, we expect that there will continue to be significant growth in the number of UHNWIs and billionaires residing in the region.”
According to a survey conducted by Knight Frank of private bankers and wealth advisers, half said their clients’ wealth had increased in 2020.
In the Middle East, 67 percent of respondents said their clients’ wealth either remained the same or increased. Sixty-nine percent said they expect their clients’ total wealth to increase in 2021.
The reports found that Asia is likely to see the largest rise in the number of UHNWIs, with growth of 39 percent, led by Indonesia (67 percent) and India (63 percent).
“The US is, and will remain, the world’s dominant wealth hub over our forecast period, but Asia will see the fastest growth in UHNWIs over the next five years. By 2025, Asia will host 24 percent of all UHNWIs, up from 17 percent a decade earlier,” said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank.
“The region is already home to more billionaires than any other. China is the key to this phenomenon, with 246 percent forecast growth in very wealthy residents in the decade to 2025.”