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The number of super-rich or high net worth individuals (HNIs ) in the Asia-Pacific is growing faster than the rest of the world, shows the Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2013 by RBC Wealth Management and its partner Capgemini. In 2012, the number of HNIs in the region increased 9.4 per cent to a record 3.68 million and their collective wealth grew to $12 trillion. In the last five years, the population and wealth of Asia-Pacific’s HNIs have respectively increased at triple and double the rates of HNIs in the rest of the world. “GDP (gross domestic product) growth of 5.5 per cent, which is more than double the global average, combined with strong equity market performance across the region and strong real estate market performance in some markets, drove robust growth in Asia-Pacific’s HNI population and wealth in 2012,” said Jean Lassignardie, chief sales and marketing officer, Capgemini Global Financial Services. North America edged out the Asia-Pacific as the largest wealth market by HNI population, growing 11.5 per cent to reach 3.73 million.
However, the report notes Asia-Pacific is expected to reclaim the top spot in the near future, driven by strong projected HNI wealth growth at 9.8 per cent annually to reach an anticipated $15.9 trillion by 2015. "The Asia-Pacific market is clearly one to watch,” said M George Lewis, group head of Canadian RBC Wealth Management and RBC Insurance. “Its leadership in global high net worth wealth growth positions it to become the largest wealth market by population as early as 2014,” he said. While all Asia-Pacific markets expanded in 2012, varying rates of growth across countries within the region reflect unique economic policies, pace of reform, regulatory developments, and investor preferences and behaviors. Hong Kong and India experienced the most significant gains in HNIs population and wealth in 2012, following steep declines in 2011. Hong Kong’s HNI population grew by 35.7% and their wealth by 37.2%, while India’s population grew by 22.2% and their wealth by 23.4%. Japan and Taiwan were the only markets to experience single-digit increases in HNI population in the region, though both still showed steady growth at 4.4% and 7.0% respectively.