Saudi tops the Middle East for super-rich residents

Gulf kingdom is home to 1,225 ultra-wealthy individuals with a cash pile of $227bn
Saudi tops the Middle East for super-rich residents
The Middle Easts super-rich represents a combined personal wealth of $705bn
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Thu 10 Nov 2011 01:09 PM

Saudi Arabia is home to more super-rich individuals than any other Middle East country, a report from Wealth-X said Thursday, representing 1,225 people sitting on a cash pile of $227bn.

The wealthiest Arab state slid in ahead of the UAE, whose multimillionaires’ club numbers 775 people with a combined wealth of $116bn, the Singapore-based research and advisory firm said.

There are 4,490 so-called ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals in the Middle East, compared to 62,960 in North America and 54,325 in Europe, the report said.

This ultra-wealthy group represents a combined personal wealth of $705bn, said Wealth-X, which provides private banks with information on super-rich clients and potential customers.

Gas-rich Qatar and Egypt were both labelled wealth “hotspots”, with Qatar expected to see the fastest growth rate in both super-rich people and total wealth during the next decade.

“With more roads, airports, stadiums and hotels to be built, Qatari companies will benefit – giving birth to new UHNW individuals and lining the pockets of existing millionaires,” the report said.

Bahrain, which was badly hit by the upheaval that swept the Arab world earlier this year, was the only Gulf state that failed to rank with the Middle East’s eight richest nations.

Kuwait’s super-rich ranked third in the region with a combined wealth of $122bn while Oman, home to 140 UNHW individuals, ranked eighth with a combined wealth of $18bn.

The GCC, which sits on some of the world’s largest oil reserves, has emerged in recent years as an economic powerhouse, attracting a rash of private banks and wealth management firms.

Private bankers should also track ultra-wealthy Egyptians who are looking to diversify income from domestic markets after the political upheaval this year, according to the report.

 “[These individuals] are hungry for cues on how their wealth may be affected,” analysts said. “This North African country should be kept on everyone’s radar… there is a bustling market for wealth managers seeking to focus on the ultra affluent.”

Concerns of a global slowdown are mounting across the world. Two weeks ago, European leaders agreed to boost the lending power of the region’s bailout fund while the US is struggling to recover from its own financial crisis. But wealthy individuals are unlikely to change their spending habits, said Wealth-X.

“Although the global economy is facing uncertainty, the spending, giving and lifestyle habits of UHNW individuals have not been severely impacted. The UHNW community is somewhat insulated from macro trends in the global economy. Simply put, the world’s wealthy elite are in a class of their own,” said the report.

Wealth-X estimates there are 62,960 UHNW individuals in North America compared to 54,325 in Europe, 42,525 in Asia Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to overtake North America by 2032 and Europe in 2024.

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