Asia’s millionaires to become ‘world’s richest group’

Asia Pacific millionaires are set to become the world's richest this year, a report said Wednesday, driven largely by wealthy individuals in India and China.

The combined wealth of Asia Pacific's super rich will surpass its 2014 total of $15.8 trillion and overtake that of their North American counterparts — currently the world's richest group with a shared wealth of $16.2 trillion last year, the study said.

The research by computer services consultancy Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management said the Asia Pacific region already had the largest number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs), with 4.69 million in 2014 against 4.68 million in North America.

HNWIs are those with investible money of at least $1.0 million apart from the value of their homes and other collectibles.

"Looking further ahead, HNWI wealth is expected to expand more in Asia Pacific than in any other region of the world with much of the new wealth expected to come from the emerging economies of China, India, Indonesia and Thailand," the firms' Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2015 said.

"China and India, in particular, have propelled Asia Pacific HNWI wealth growth in recent years and are expected to continue to act as key drivers both in the region and globally."

The report said China and India represent nearly 10 percent of global HNWI wealth, and accounted for 17 percent of the worldwide increase in new wealth since 2006.

China had 890,000 millionaires with a total wealth of $4.5 trillion in 2014, up 17.5 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

Globally, India recorded the fastest pace of growth in the number of millionaires — 26.3 percent to 198,000 — while total wealth surged 28.2 percent to $785 billion, the report added.

The "Asia Pacific continues its tremendous run in wealth creation and doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon," said Barend Janssens, Asia head at RBC Wealth Management.

He added that "despite some recent economic issues, the region's wealth is expected to lead global growth".

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