MOST millionaires are still found in countries such as the United States, Japan and Germany, but the Asia-Pacific region is minting new ones faster than the developed world.
Asia-Pacific markets comprised eight out of the world's 10 fastest-growing millionaire pools, according to the latest World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Capgemini SA.
Singapore's 80,947 millionaires last year was up one-third from 61,000 in 2008.
This puts the Republic in the No.6 spot in the world's top 10 fastest-growing millionaires' clubs - behind Hong Kong (104.4 per cent), India (50.9 per cent), Israel (42.7 per cent), Taiwan (42.3 per cent) and Australia (34.4 per cent).
China, Indonesia, Norway and Vietnam rounded out the top 10.
'We are seeing significant wealth creation in the Asia-Pacific, fuelled by strong economic growth typically led by the entrepreneurial class,' said Barclays Wealth Asia Pacific's chief executive Didier von Daeniken.
For many private banks, Asia has become the 'sweet spot' for opportunities.
'Singapore as a wealth management hub has largely benefited from an increasing proportion of wealth created in Asia being retained in the region,' said UBS Wealth Management's regional market manager, Mr Peter Kok. 'Singapore's role as a well-regulated and stable financial centre makes it an attractive booking centre in Asia (for assets).'
The report said Asia-Pacific residents with at least US$1 million (S$1.4 million) of investable assets rose 26 per cent to three million in 2009, matching Europe and almost overhauling North America's 3.1 million.
Hong Kong was the world's fastest- growing millionaire market, after a sharp stock market rebound, with market value surging 73.5 per cent last year after falling about 50 per cent in 2008.
Hong Kong also has a very large proportion of well-heeled types in the US$1 million to US$5 million wealth band, so many had been quickly relegated to the 'mass affluent' bracket amid the market crash of 2008 - and many were just as quickly promoted back to millionaire status when asset prices rose last year.
Source: Straits Times, 24 Jun 2010