• There are now 95,000 individuals in Hong Kong with net assets of at least US$1 million (HK$7.8 million), excluding their primary residence and cars.

    The number indicates a 10.2 percent increase in the number of high net worth individuals in the territory since 2006, according to the latest annual world wealth report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.

    Driving growth last year were the increase in property prices, the 39 percent rise in the Hang Seng Index, real gross domestic product of 6.4 percent driven by robust export growth, and the 55 percent increase in market capitalization on the Hong Kong stock exchange, the report said.

    "Hong Kong continues to attract a lot of listings from China," said Mark Matthew, senior director and chief Asia strategist of Merrill Lynch.  

    The report also showed that the mainland has the second-fastest growing HNWI population in the world.

    It recorded a 20.3 percent increase to 415,000 people last year, surpassing France as the fifth-largest HNWI population globally.

    India has the fastest growth, with a 22.7 percent increase from 2006 to 123,000 individuals last year.   -   2008 June 27     THE STANDARD

  • Hong Kong had 410,000 people with liquid assets worth HK$1 million or more by the end of last year, Citibank Global Consumer Group said.  - 2008 March 27 
  • There are more Rolls Royce in the world in Hong Kong on a per capita basis than anywhere else in the world

Millionaire ranks swell on stock

Hong Kong had an estimated 87,000 US-dollar millionaires at the end of last year, up 12.2 percent from 77,200 in 2005, according to the second annual Asia-Pacific Wealth Report released yesterday by Merrill Lynch and business consultancy firm Capgemini.

Last year's growth rate followed a 14.4 percent increase in 2005.

Hong Kong's high-net-worth-individuals - defined as those with a minimum US$1 million (HK$7.8 million) of net assets, excluding their principal residence and consumables - had wealth amounting to US$460 billion.

Of the nine countries and places in the poll, Hong Kong HNWIs stayed on top in terms of the highest average net worth at US$5.4 million, followed by mainlanders at US$5 million, Singaporeans at US$4.9 million, Indonesians and Indians, both at US$3.5 million; and Taiwanese at US$3.3 million.

The regional average was US$3.3 million, compared to US$3.9 million globally.

The upswing in Hong Kong's millionaire population was driven by the economy, particularly a bullish stock market. The millionaires held 34 percent of their assets in properties and 26 percent in equity investments.

Of the 87,000, some 1,330 are ultra- high-net-worth-individuals - those with more than US$30 million in assets.

"Economic conditions in Hong Kong remained buoyant in 2006 on the back of China's continued expansion," said Stephen Corry, an Asia-Pacific investment strategist for Merrill Lynch.

Regional millionaires as a whole had wealth amounting to US$8.4 trillion, up 10.5 percent. Among the region's 17,500 ultra-HNWIs, more than 28 percent are mainlanders.   - 2007 October 18

More people in Hong Kong happy to be millionaires

It is not difficult to bump into a millionaire in Hong Kong as there is one among every 20 adults, according to a survey released by Citibank.

The number of millionaires - defined as an individual aged 21 to 79 with liquid assets worth at least HK$1 million - rose to 276,000 in 2006, up slightly from 274,000 the previous year, representing 5.2 percent of Hong Kong's adults.

While the numbers remained relatively stagnant, the average amount of their liquid assets jumped 40 percent last year to HK$5.6 million from HK$4 million, thanks to strong performance of the equity markets.

Citibank's survey was based on telephone interviews with 3,300 respondents between November 6 and December 7. The results indicate that 51 percent of millionaires are female, slightly more than last year's 49 percent. Also, there are less single millionaires as 88 percent of them are married, compared to the 85 percent recorded in 2005.

The survey also offers a rough estimate on how happy millionaires are compared to non-millionaires.

With a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the happiest, a millionaire has an average "happiness index" of 7.5, while non-millionaires stand at 6.3.

Female millionaires are happy at 7.8, while male ones are slightly lower at 7. Apart from "personal health" and "family member health," "children's education" is the "most concerning item" for both millionaires and non- millionaires.

Average total assets per millionaire in 2006 amounted to HK$9.9 million, with 57 percent being liquid assets, and 39 percent properties.

Property is also the greatest burden, as property loans account for 70 percent of liabilities, Citibank found.

Millionaires care more about financial news than non-millionaires - 64 percent of them read the financial section of a daily newspaper.

Only 38 percent of non-millionaires do so.  -  THE STANDARD   2007 February 14

The wealth of Hong Kong dollar millionaires surged last year, even as their numbers remained stagnant, according to a Citibank survey

The wealth of Hong Kong dollar millionaires surged last year, even as their numbers remained stagnant, according to a Citibank survey.

Hong Kong's 274,000 millionaires increased their wealth 17.6 percent on the back of strong economic growth and a bullish stock market, the annual Citibank Hong Kong Consumer Wealth Review found.

On average, each held about HK$4 million in liquid assets last year, up from HK$3.4 million a year earlier.

For the purposes of the survey, to be a considered a millionaire, an individual must have liquid assets of HK$1 million or more. Property assets do not qualify.

The review, conducted every year since 2003, polled by phone more than 3,000 Hong Kongers, with ages ranging from 21 to 79, between November and mid-December for the 2005 edition.

It found the number of millionaires composed 5.3 percent of the adult population within the survey age group - that is, five millionaires in every 100 Hong Kongers.

The age of the group is getting younger, with those under 40 swelling to 26 percent last year from 23 percent in 2004, according to the survey.

"When the investment market and economy perform well, more jobs are available and salaries rise, so Hong Kong's working population gets wealthier," said Weber Lo, chief operating officer and director of retail banking at Citibank.

"That may explain why the age of Hong Kong millionaires is getting younger."

Their numbers and wealth will keep rising this year, given the continuing expansion of the local economy, Lo said.

Citibank estimates the city's economy will grow between 4 and 5 percent this year, slower than the 7.3 percent surge in 2005.

The Hang Seng Index, a benchmark for the Hong Kong stock market, rose 4.5 percent last year. The bullish stock market adds wealth to millionaires since stock investment is their major liquid asset, Lo said.

About 49 percent of respondents said most of their gain in liquid assets came through investment in non- property assets, such as stocks, mutual funds and time deposits, while 25 percent said their gains came mostly from property investment. The estimated 274,000 millionaires had distributed 32 percent of their average HK$4 million liquid assets in stocks, 36 percent in deposits, 16 percent in mutual funds, 8 percent in bonds, and the remaining 8 percent in other investment tools.

The better investment sentiment in 2005 prompted 77 percent of the millionaires to invest in stocks, compared with 73 percent in 2004; while 65 percent placed their liquid assets into time deposits in the face of rising interest rates last year. Saving deposit rates, for example, have increased to about 2.75 percent from almost zero in early 2005.

The survey also verified common knowledge that more wealthy residents are clustered on Hong Kong Island. It found that one in seven Hong Kong Island residents are millionaires, against one in every 35 people in Kowloon and one in 28 in the New Territories and Islands.    - by Lee Yuk-kei     THE STANDARD     24 February 2006

Hong Kong Millionaires   >>  MORE
The number of people with more than $1 million in liquid assets rose to more than 274,000 last year from about 260,000 in 2003, according to a Citibank survey   - 24 Feb 2004       SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

The number of millionaires in Hong Kong rose 30 per cent last year as the economy rebounded from the Sars outbreak and a prolonged decline in the property market, a study finds.

The Capgemini/Merrill Lynch report found about 45,000 Hongkongers - equal to one in 150 - were US dollar millionaires last year. Their combined wealth was US$437 billion. This compares with an estimated global figure of 7.7 million millionaires, or an average of about one out of every 800 people.

"The economic recovery brought Hong Kong's high-net-worth individuals back to the level registered in 2001," said Cheong Soon Tan, a managing director for Merrill Lynch's private banking arm. These are defined as people with financial assets of at least US$1 million, excluding their homes.

About 45,000 individuals met this criterion last year, a rise of 30 per cent from 2002 and the largest percentage rise among the 68 countries surveyed. India, in second place, had a 22 per cent increase.

However, Mr Tan said the substantial rise was largely explained by the slump in 2002, when the number of millionaires in Hong Kong shrank to 35,000.

"Next year, I don't think we can expect that kind of increase, I think 30 per cent is hard to beat," he said. Mr Tan pointed out that as Asian millionaires hold on average 30 per cent of their financial assets offshore, the global economic recovery has also been significant in rebuilding local ranks. "Part of the reason is regional, part of it is global," he said.

The seven-digit club is also growing on the mainland, with 236,000 millionaires holding combined wealth of US$969 billion at the end of last year, a 12 per cent rise on 2002.

Chen Chiping, vice-president of Capgemini China, said: "The reasons are economic restructuring and reforms, and the emergence of entrepreneurship and the middle class in China, both of which have a rising appetite for consumption."

He said the real figure could be much higher, as wealthy individuals in China may invest in Hong Kong, either illegally or by taking advantage of grey areas in rules, due to the lack of sophisticated wealth management products in China.

Mr Chen expects the rise in wealthy mainlanders will lead to a shift in investment strategies, referring to a separate Capgemini study showing individual bank savings reached US$1.2 trillion last year.

Japan is still the wealthiest Asian country with 1.3 million millionaires, up nearly 6 per cent.           - Stuart Biggs   South China Morning Post   17 June 2004

45,000 millionaires in SAR
Hong Kong's unemployment rate may be rising, but so too is the number of its millionaires.

According to the 2002 World Wealth Report conducted by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, there were 45,000 millionaires in Hong Kong last year.

The report said high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) - those with financial assets worth over US$1 million (HK$7.8 million) excluding real estate - grew in number last year. But it did not report the actual growth rate.

The number of such individuals in Asia rose almost 7 per cent to 1.73 million at the end of last year.

Their combined wealth grew 7.1 per cent to an estimated US$5.1 trillion at the end of last year.

That is about a quarter of 7.1 million such individuals across the world and represented about a fifth of their US$26.2 trillion in investments, up 3 per cent from 2000.

``This is mainly due to the high savings rates and that some markets were actually doing well last year, such as South Korea, Thailand, and of course China,'' said Cap Gemini Ernst & Young manager Raymond Ng, who refused to disclose how many of the millionaires were from China.

Europe experienced zero growth last year, and the United States saw a 1.7 per cent increase.

According to the report, tough economic conditions last year had a predictably adverse impact on wealth creation around the globe.

Gross domestic product expansion, which had begun to fall off in the second half of 2000, continued to drop last year.

Asian millionaires, meanwhile, spread their investment risk after the financial crisis in 1998.

``After the Asian crisis, many Asian millionaires diversified their wealth by spreading their investment risk across their portfolio. They increased the proportion of hedge fund and fixed-income investments to protect their portfolio,'' Merrill Lynch's international private client unit chairman for Asia Pacific, Francis Chan, said.

Based on historical data and economic trends, Chan said the economy will show a modest recovery through 2003. ``By the end of 2006, the HNWI wealth will rise by an average of 8 per cent a year, reaching US$38.5 trillion.

``Despite the difficult times, global GDP and the stock markets have exhibited significant underlying powers of recovery. As that strength re-emerges, HNWIs will once again invest more confidently, fuelling their wealth growth over the long term.''  -by Anita Ng     Imail     19 June 2002


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