Hong Kong to have the world’s richest citizens by 2020

Shake-up to current positions with European country set to fall from first to third

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

An analysis of 69 global wealth markets reveals that by 2020 Hong Kong will have the world’s richest citizens in terms of liquid assets, displacing current leader Switzerland, which will slide to third place.
The report, released by financial services research firm Verdict Financial, has Switzerland in the top spot, with the average Swiss citizen having US$186,000 in cash on hand. The US is in second place, while Hong Kong is in third.
Bartosz Golba, Verdict Financial’s senior analyst for wealth management, explained: “With a forecast compound annual growth rate of 7%, Hong Kong will be the third quickest growing developed wealth market over 2016-20… Hong Kong’s growing importance is not a big surprise. The market is exemplary in regard to explaining why the majority of global wealth managers put Asia-Pacific at the center of their growth strategies. In real terms - taking inflation into account - no other region will see its value of liquid assets grow at a greater pace.”
A unique feature among Hong Kong investors is their preference for near-cash products. Around 85% of liquid onshore assets of retail investors are placed as bank deposits, compared to the average of other developed markets at just 62%. As such, their portfolios are more protected from capital markets volatility.
Verdict Financial also pointed out the unequal distribution of global wealth. It cited India, which is set to take sixth place by 2020, with Indian millionaires being richer than Australia’s. However, the average Indian citizen’s savings will be below US$2,000.
The wide gap between rich and poor is typical of many developing nations, said Golba.
“The higher the country’s development level, the larger the penetration of the world’s wealthiest people. In the US, almost two thirds of the population can be considered affluent. As a country in which almost 2% of citizens are millionaires, it remains an attractive market for private banks and wealth managers,” he added.

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