A file photo shows a person holds greenbacks. Even as world financial markets broke down last year, personal wealth around the world grew 5 percent to $109.5 trillion, according to a global wealth report released on Thursday by Boston Consulting Group.
The old saying holds true: The rich do get richer.
Even as world financial markets broke down last year, personal wealth around the world grew 5 percent to $109.5 trillion, according to a global wealth report released on Thursday by Boston Consulting Group.
It was the sixth consecutive year of expanding wealth. The fastest growth was among households in developing regions, such as China and the Gulf States and among families who were already rich.
That wealth also is increasingly concentrated among the richest.
The top 1 percent of all households owned 35 percent of the world's wealth last year. Meanwhile, the top 0.001 percent, ultra-rich households holding at least $5 million in assets, commanded $21 trillion -- a fifth of the world's wealth.
The planet also continues to mint new millionaires rapidly. The biggest jumps in 2007 came from emerging countries in Asia and Latin America. Overall, the number of millionaire households grew 11 percent to 10.7 million last year.
BCG notes that, while the rich are still rich, they have been making some adjustments as a result of the financial crisis.
This year, assets are being shifted to more conservative investments, more money is being kept onshore in home markets and some individuals have curtailed new investment.
Yet BCG cautioned the outlook for wealth markets and the banks who serve them, is dimmed by the current financial crisis.
North American personal wealth growth slowed to 3.8 percent last year, compared with 9 percent in 2006, reflecting the mortgage crisis and the onset of the credit crunch last summer.
BCG, which advises banks and wealth managers, forecasts personal wealth will continue growing, but at a slower pace.