5% fewer in Ireland’s wealthy club

IRELAND’S rich club saw its membership fall by 5% last year, as a result of financial turmoil.

There are 20,000 high net worth individuals (HNWI) in Ireland, down from 21,000 in 2006, according to the latest world wealth report, compiled by Merrill Lynch and consulting group Capgemini.

A HNWI is a person with at least $1 million (€640,000) in financial assets — excluding their home. Globally the report found there are now just over 10 million HNWI, an increase of 6% over 2006.

For such an elite club, 10.1 million may seem like a lot of members but the figure represents just 0.15% of the world’s population of 6.7 billion.

The reason for the decrease in the number of Irish HNWIs is that more people sought refuge during financial market turmoil by selling property and Irish equities.

It does say that Irish HNWIs will continue to invest in “investments of passion” such as luxury cars and art collections.

The report also says Irish HNWIs will eventually regain confidence.

However, it goes on to say that Irish HNWIs will continue to withdraw from the Irish property market and seek inflation protection.

Despite the drop last year, Irish HNWI’s wealth is projected to grow at 5% a year to 2012.

Worldwide HNWI wealth totalled $40.7 trillion, a 9.4% gain from 2006.

The average HNWI wealth also surpassed $4m for the first time.

Nick Tucker of Merrill Lynch said: “While trends indicate opportunities exist for wealth management firms to tap into new growth markets, success will go to those that recognise their existing service, delivery and technology strategies must be adapted and tailored to meet the particular needs of growth markets.”


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