The number of wealthy people and the amount of money they control increased dramatically during 2006, with individuals in Singapore and India leading the way, according to the 11th annual World Wealth Report released recently by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.
   The amount of wealth controlled by high-net-worth or ultra-high-net-worth individuals grew by 11.4% last year to $37.2 trillion. The number of high-net--worth individuals-those with at least $1 million in assets excluding their primary residence-increased 8.3% to 9.5 million; the number of ultra high net worth individuals-those with $30 million in assets-grew by 11.3% to 94,970.
   Cash flow going to emerging economies is credited with the more than 20% growth in the number of high-net-worth individuals in Singapore and India, but that growth will moderate in 2007, the report predicts. Real GDP and market capitalization growth rates are credited with creating the increases worldwide. Market capitalization grew rapidly in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America thanks to strong corporate profits, IPO activity and on-going foreign investment, the report says.
   High-net-worth individuals continued to shift money into real estate investments, resulting in a 38% increase in real estate transaction volume last year to reach a total of $682 billion.
   "The level of wealth creation around the world provides a tremendous opportunity for wealth management firms, and success will go to the firms that offer a service model that meets the ever-changing needs of today's sophisticated clients," says Robert J. McCann, president of Merrill Lynch's Global Private Client Group.