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The world’s richest are getting richer (but not in the UK)

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  • The world’s high net-worth individuals (those are people with investable assets of $1m or more) expanded in population and wealth in 2010, surpassing 2007 pre-crisis levels in nearly every region.
  • The global population of millionaires increased by 8.3 per cent to 10.9 million between 2009 and 2010.
  • Their financial wealth grew by 9.7 per cent to reach $42.7trn.
  • The world’s richest people remain highly concentrated in the US, Japan and Germany. 
  • There are 3.1 million high net-worth individuals in the US alone.    
  • India has the twelfth largest population of rich people in the world. 
  • The population of British millionaires increased by 6,000 to 454,000 in 2010, amounting to growth of just 1.4 percent, one of the slowest rates among leading economies.
  • By the end of 2010, high net-worth individuals held 33 per cent of all their investments in equities.   

Adam Horowitz, head of UK, Ireland and Israel at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, attributed the UK’s lacklustre growth in numbers of rich to economic headwinds preventing wealth creation such as rising unemployment and weak real estate values. 
Others pointed to wealth taxes such as a 50 per cent top rate of income tax. “It’s little wonder when you are looking at some of the highest rates of tax in Europe. We are living in a heavily taxed country,” says Ronnie Ludwig, a partner in the private client team at accountants Saffery Champness.

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