Asia-Pacific recorded an 8.5% annual growth in the population of HNWIs in 2014, reaching 4.69 million compared to North America’s 4.68 million.
Asia-Pacific and North America were the key drivers of the global HNW population and of wealth in 2014, according to the World Wealth Report.
North America still leads in private wealth ($16.2trn) compared to Asia-Pacific ($15.8trn). But Asia-Pacific registered the greatest gain in wealth at 11.4% compared to North America’s 9.1%.
India key growth driver
India emerged as the key driver of the region's wealth accumulation. The country recorded the highest growth rates across the globe for the HNW population (26.3%) and private wealth (28.2%), year-on-year, in 2014.
India had 2% growth of the HNW population and 4% in wealth.
In 2013, India had 2% growth of the HNW population and 4% in wealth. India has moved up five places to 11th in the global HNWI population tally.
China was another engine of growth in Asia-Pacific, adding to the HNW population at a rate of 17.5% year-on-year and HNW wealth by 19.3%.
Asia to lead wealth
The firm forecasts global HNW wealth worldwide to cross $70trn by 2017, growing at an annualised rate of 7.7% through 2017. Asia-Pacific HNWIs are expected to be a major driver.
“The strong performance from India, China, and other emerging economies in Asia-Pacific is expected to drive global HNWI growth over the next few years,” the report said.
Globally, however, there has been a slowdown. Last year, the world's population of high net worth individuals and amount of private wealth rose at moderate rates of 6.7% and 7.2% to 14.6 million and $56.4trn, respectively.
By comparison, in 2013, the global population and wealth grew by 14.7% and 13.8%, respectively.
“While the global economy expanded and equity markets rose in 2014, their growth was constrained by Eurozone concerns, decelerating emerging-market economic performance, and ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine,” the report said.