The Middle East’s super-rich community grew by 100 in the last year to include 4,595 individuals with a combined wealth of $710bn.
While the number of ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals with a fortune over $30m increased, their total wealth decreased 1.3 percent to $710bn, according to the ‘World Ultra Wealth Report 2012-2013’ compiled by Singapore-based Wealth X consultancy firm.
Qatar, which is gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and is renowned for its massive gas and oil reserves, is home to twelve billionaires, each worth an average of $1.4bn. However, while the number of UHNW individuals in the Gulf state grew by 3.4 percent, their total balance sheet also decreased by 2.2 percent to $45bn.
“The gloom in Europe may prove to be the drag on economic expansion in Africa and the Middle East through the reduced demand for oil and an increase in risk aversion amongst investors,” the report warns, but Steve Troop, CEO of Barwa Bank, is more upbeat.
“Anyone who has managed to preserve capital has done very well… 2.2 percent poorer? To come out with 97.8 percent is [still] very well,” says Troop.
The Cambridge University graduate and native of Yorkshire may be the head of Qatar’s fastest-growing Sharia-compliant lender but he has an interesting take on why the country’s super-rich community is seeing their wealth shrink.
“We think corporate wealth management is not done terribly well in the Middle East,” he says candidly. “All banks start out with the best of intentions but it ends up as product push… It gets simplified along the way and people have agendas and targets.
Article continued on next page