By Elizabeth Broomhall
Some 60 percent of the Arab world’s super-wealthy call the Gulf kingdom home
Saudi Arabia has once again topped the Middle East for its super-rich residents, with 60 percent of entrants on the Arabian Business Rich List 2011 living in the Gulf kingdom.
Taking the number one spot for the eighth year was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal with a fortune of $21.3bn. In at No.2 is the founder of MBI Group, Mohammed Al Jaber, with $12.6bn in the bank.
The Gulf’s largest state beat neighbouring UAE and Qatar by a landslide, with just four of the richest Arabs residing in the emirates and only three in Qatar.
Kuwait and Egypt, also known for their high-net-worth citizens, were also outnumbered. Just three Kuwaitis and only one Egyptian were included on the 2011 list.
Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s biggest oil producer, has long been home to the majority of the Middle East’s wealthiest residents due to its vast size and growing oil wealth.
A report by Wealth-X in November said the OPEC member had as many as 1,225 wealthy residents in the country, sitting on a cash pile of $227bn.
Gas-rich Qatar and Egypt were both labelled as wealth “hotspots”, with Qatar expected to see the fastest growth rate in both super-rich people and total wealth during the next decade according to the Wealth X report.
Bahrain, which received international condemnation after its response to the Arab Spring protests, was the only Gulf state that failed to rank with the Middle East’s eight richest nations, the report said.
Just one Bahraini family, the Kanoo clan, made it the Arabian Business Rich List 2011.
Across the region, which sits on some of the world’s largest oil reserves, there are 4,490 so-called ultra-high-net-worth individuals, compared with 62,960 in North America and 54,325 in Europe, Wealth X said.
Private banks and wealth management firms have been quick to tap into the market, with a number of finance houses shifting their focus to wealth management following the credit crisis.
Dubai investment bank Shuaa Capital said in October it planned to reinvent itself as an advisory body to the Middle East’s super rich, in a bid to diversify its revenues away from investment.
It now plans to offers its services to wealthy clients in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, according to the firm’s CEO.