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- The Middle East was the only region in the world where the ultra-wealthy did not end 2018 worse off than they began it, according to Capgemini’s 2019 World Wealth report.
- Wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait performed best in the region, while those in the UAE did not do as well, according to Capgemini.
- The net worths of high net worth (HNW) individuals in North America remained flat in 2018, while the high net worth populations of the Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin America dropped, Capgemini found.
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The portfolios of high net worth individuals in the Middle East are outperforming their counterparts across the globe.
That’s according to French technology consulting firm Capgemini’s 2019 World Wealth Report, which examines how high net worth (HNW) individuals manage their wealth. The report found that 2018 was the first time in seven years that HNW individuals — defined as those with net worths over $1 million — across the globe saw their fortunes shrink.
The report, currently in its 23rd edition, found that rising oil prices and economic reforms helped the collective wealth of HNW individuals in the Middle East rise 4% in 2018. And their wealth isn’t the only thing on an upward trajectory: The population of HNW individuals also grew 6% in 2018.
The net worths of HNW individuals in the Middle East have had a "mixed performance" over the past several years as fiscal reforms have reduced the region’s dependence on oil, Capgemini‘s Deputy Head of the Global Financial Services Market Intelligence Strategic Analysis Group Chirag Thakral told Business Insider.
For the past three years, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has worked toward what he calls "Vision 2030," a plan to diversify the Kingdom’s economy. The plan includes measures to increase employment, social responsibility and construct a futuristic $500 billion city, according to its website.
"All those policies have started helping the overall economy, which has helped the high-net-worth individual growth," Thakral said. "There’s a dynamic business culture."
How HNW individuals fared in 2018, by region
The growth in the region’s HNW population was particularly prominent in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where HNW individuals’ wealth rose 4% and 6% respectively, according to the Capgemini’s report.
On the flip side, HNW individuals in the United Arab Emirates were not able to escape global market volatility because of the UAE’s deep economic ties to the West, Thakral said. Emirati high net worth individuals lost 9% percent of their collective net worth, Capgemini found.
High net worth individuals in Asia were the most affected by market instability, Business Insider previously reported. Asian HNW individuals were responsible for half of the global wealth decline in 2018. Billionaires in the Asia-Pacific region lost 8.7% of their collective net worth and 13.4% of their ranks in 2018, according to Wealth-X’s 2019 Billionaire Census.
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