UAE, Qatar named among 'safe havens' for world's rich elite

Gulf countries will see strong growth in populations of ultra-wealthy over the next decade: report

The UAE and Qatar have been named among "safe haven" countries expected to see strong growth in their populations of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) over the next decade.

According to data provided by New World Wealth for The Wealth Report, the two Gulf countries offer a fiscal and political safe haven as well as excellent quality of life and will attract growing numbers of the world's wealthiest people.

Australasia, Canada, Malta and Monaco were named in the report as other examples of key safe havens attracting migrating UHNWIs, those with $30 million or more in net assets.

The report said the number of UHNWIs in the wider Middle East region is forecast to rise by 39 percent from 2016-2026. Their number will increase to 10,270 from 7,370 from last year but the rate of growth will be slower than the global average of 43 percent.

The number of UHNWIs globally rose by 6,340 in 2016, taking the total to 193,490, according to the report. This growth reverses the decline of three percent seen in 2015. 

The increase has occurred despite ongoing political and economic uncertainty around the world having more of an impact on future trends, the report noted.  

Grainne Gilmore, head of UK Residential Research, Knight Frank, said: “The momentum gained in wealth creation in 2016, although relatively modest, was far from being a foregone conclusion, especially given that nearly three-quarters of respondents to our Attitudes Survey highlighted political uncertainty as a significant threat to their clients’ availability to create and preserve wealth.”

Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, added: “One key influence on income in 2016 has been the performance of stock markets in dollar terms. In many countries this was much stronger in 2016 than in 2015. There may be widespread uncertainty, but there are also strong fundamentals in many economies, with signs of real progress being made around regulation and policy which will help economic growth to flourish in some places.”

Vietnam, having seen the biggest growth in its ultra-wealth population over the past decade, is expected to see the fastest growth in it UHNWI population by 2026, with a 170 percent increase, the report found. 

It added that Asia is starting to challenge the US in terms of the largest regional population of UHNWIs. At present, Asia is home to 27,020 fewer ultra-wealthy people than the US, but by 2026, this difference will have shrunk to just 7,068.

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