Even in the face of a global economic slowdown, international trade wars and geopolitical tensions, the world gained a few more millionaires in 2019, as the population of high-net-worth individuals jumped nearly 9%, according to the “World Wealth Report 2020” from Capgemini.

North America had the biggest gains with an 11% increase in both the wealthy individual population and their wealth. The continent accounted for 39% of global population gains and 37% of rich individuals’ wealth growth of $2.2 trillion, the report said. Europe followed with a 9% increase.

This marks the first time since 2012 that North America and Europe have surpassed the Asia-Pacific region to lead global performance in population and wealth growth, the report said (in 2018, North America saw a wealth decline). Capgemini noted that despite robust market performance from a few of its countries in 2019, the growth rate of the Asia-Pacific region expanded just 8%, falling behind the average 9% global growth rate of wealthy people.

And while there was double-digit growth in the wealthy population and their wealth in key countries such as Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, other major Asian markets such as India, South Korea and Singapore posted weak progress in 2019, which led to subpar growth in the population and wealth of the rich for the entire region. The report said these markets were plagued by economic slowdown and weakening local currencies.

The U.S. added 11% in the wealthy population, a stark contrast to 2018 when it was just 1%. The report attributed the jump to fourth-quarter gains in U.S. equities as trade uncertainty faded in December when the U.S. and China rolled out their Phase One trade deal. It said the markets benefited from measures taken by the Federal Reserve to pump billions of dollars into the financial system after tumult in mid-September.

The U.S. also benefited from the optimism surrounding technology companies. The top five contributors in the market surge were tech stocks—Apple and Microsoft accounted for nearly 15% of S&P gains, according to the World Wealth Report 2020, which covered 71 countries accounting for more than 98% of global gross national income and 99% of world stock market capitalization. The “Capgemini 2020 Global HNW Insights Survey” was conducted in January and February and included more than 2,500 high-net-worth individuals across 21 major wealth markets.

Other countries posting gains in both wealthy population and wealth in 2019 included Canada, which saw an increase of more than 8%. The report said diminishing U.S.-Canada trade tension had a significant impact on Canada’s equities market, with the S&P/TSX Composite (the Canadian index) rising more than 19% following a nearly 12% decline in 2018.

The United Kingdom, amid the uncertainty surrounding Brexit throughout 2019, saw a 6% increase in both high-net-worth individuals and wealth. It is noteworthy that within the top 25 markets with a high-net-worth population, Sweden’s gain of more than 10% in wealthy population growth moved it up to a 23rd ranking. And the Netherlands joined the top 10 because of its robust real estate sector growth and an increase in market capitalization.

But the top five are still the U.S., Japan, Germany, China and France, which had the highest total of rich people in 2019, with their contribution increasing significantly over 2018. The top four countries accounted for nearly 62% of the rich population in 2019, and they shouldered more than 67% of global wealth population growth, the report said.

The report noted that both individual wealth and the population growth of the wealthy were more evenly distributed across all wealth bands in 2019 than they were in 2018. However, they grew at an even pace in 2019 for the millionaire-next-door and mid-tier millionaire wealth bands, while the ultra-wealthy growth was oddly below average compared with population growth (8.2% versus 9.1%), it said.

First « 1 2 3 » Next