MidEast's wealthy got richer during crisis - study

Half of the Middle East’s richest individuals increased their wealth during the recent financial crisis, according to a study.

The report, by Barclays Wealth Insights, found that 45 percent of the region’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs) believed that economic instability, such as the 2008 collapse of Dubai’s real estate market, had actually provided them with more business opportunities.

It also stated that HNWIs in the Middle East were more confident about increasing their speed of wealth generation than those in any other market, with 60 percent claiming wealth can be created quicker today than at any time in the past. This compared with 43 percent in Europe, and 31 percent in North America, who answered similarly.

Over half (54 percent) of respondents based in the Middle East also said that their personal investments had contributed largely to their entire wealth portfolio, while 49 percent said their fortune was comprised mostly of inherited wealth.

On average, HNWIs in the region hold 30 percent of their wealth in personal property, followed by investments (23 percent) and cash savings (20 percent). The Barclays report found that the Middle East’s rich held just 13 percent of their wealth in tangible assets, such as real estate and land.

A separate report published by Boston Consulting Group this month showed that wealthy individuals in the Middle East and Africa saw the value of their assets rise by 9.1 percent to $4.8trn in 2012, as strong economies and rising equity markets fuelled regional growth.

The Gulf Arab region ranked highly among countries with the highest percentage of millionaire households with Qatar leading the global list with 143 millionaires out of every 1,000 households, the study showed.

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