By Andy Sambidge
Gulf state saw more than 10,000 investor visa applications from millionaires over past decade, says study
The UAE was the 10th most popular destination in the world for investor visa applications from wealthy individuals over the past decade, according to new figures.
From 2003-2013, the Gulf state saw the arrival of 10,100 high net worth individuals (HNWIs), representing 21 percent of the total inflow, Knight Frank’s Wealth Report revealed.
In 2013, the UAE reported a total of 48,300 HNWIs, those with a net worth of more than $1 million, the report said.
The UK was named the top destination for investor visa applications, overseeing the arrival of 114,100 HNWIs, more than twice that of second placed Singapore, with 45,000.
More than 60 percent of these individuals originated from Europe, but with substantial numbers also coming from China, Russia, India, the Middle East (especially Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey) and Africa (led by South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt).
Separately, the number of ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) - those with $30 million in assets or more - rose by 3 percent last year.
Some 5,181 people saw their wealth rise beyond the $30 million bracket, while 53 individuals became billionaires in 2014, taking the world’s total billionaire population to 1,844.
By region, Europe is home to the highest number of UHNWI’s, with a population of 60,565, followed by North America and Asia, with 44,922 and 42,272 respectively, according to data compiled for Knight Frank’s Wealth Report by Wealth Insight.
However, this balance is expected to change over the next decade, with forecasts showing that Asia will overtake North America as the second biggest hub for UHNWIs over the next ten years.
The ultra-wealthy in Asia now hold net assets totalling $5.9 trillion, while those in North America hold $5.5 trillion, but Europe far outstrips both with holdings of $6.4 trillion. The longer-term forecast is for the global number of super wealthy to grow by 34 percent over the next ten years with the highest proportional growth coming from Africa (a 59 percent increase) and then Latin America (50 percent).