Wealth of world’s billionaires dropped by $388 billion in 2018 when it decreased to $8.5 trillion across industries, except technology, an annual UBS and PwC billionaire report, The Billionaire Effect, obtained by Nairametrics disclosed.
The report, which was released on Friday, disclosed that this is the first time the billionaires’ wealth would suffer a setback after five years growth.
Highlights of the report
- Over the 15 years to the end of 2018, billionaire-controlled companies listed on the equity market returned 17.8%, compared with the 9.1% of the MSCI AC World Index.
- The strong dollar and volatile equity markets saw billionaire wealth decrease to USD 8.5 trillion after five years of growth.
- The Americas saw a slight increase in wealth, adding 33 new billionaires in 12 months, led by prominent US tech billionaires.
- Tech billionaires saw their wealth increase more than any other sector last year, fuelled by existing businesses and disruptive new market entrants.
- Billionaires are now using their business experience to drive impact through philanthropy.
- The number of female billionaires has grown by 46% in five years.
- Asia’s billionaires benefited from the five years significant growth as their wealth almost quadrupled.
- Despite slow growth last year, billionaire wealth is over a third higher (34.5%) than five years earlier, amounting to an increase of $ 2.2 trillion.
- The number of female billionaires has grown by 46% in five years – ahead of the growth rate of male billionaires in the same period (39%). There are now 233 female billionaires, up from 160 in 2013.
- In Asia, over half (57%) of female billionaires are now self-made.
- Four in 10 of 2018’s self-made female billionaires built businesses in the consumer and retail sector.
What really happened
Head, Ultra High Net Worth, UBS Global Wealth Management, Josef Stadler, stated, “The billionaire boom of the past five years has now undergone a natural correction. The stronger dollar, combined with greater uncertainty in equity markets amidst a tough geopolitical environment, has created the conditions for this dip.
“Nevertheless, it’s clear that billionaire businesses continue to thrive. Billionaires are creating and steering businesses that consistently outperform equity markets. This business acumen has also translated into their philanthropy, as billionaires seek new ways to engineer far-reaching environmental and social change. This ‘Billionaire Effect’ is alive and well across the world – and shows little sign of slowing.”
However, the billionaires across the globe came up with initiatives that drive a difference.
- Self-made billionaires are seeking new ways to make the world a better place. Traditional grant-giving is evolving into strategic philanthropy and championing some ambitious causes.
- Philanthropists are also increasingly collaborating to make a difference, with other billionaires, NGOs, charities and governments.
- This Billionaire Effect can be attributed to billionaires’ appetite for smart risk-taking and their greater willingness to plan and invest for the long term.
Partner and Swiss Head Wealth Management, PwC Switzerland, Marcel Tschanz, said, explained that the EU action plan for Sustainable Finance, UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have shown the world how individuals and institutions are expected to foster sustainability.
According to him, the public, however, is just catching up with our self-made entrepreneurs, who in the past years have transformed, innovated, and become more strategic in their ways of doing good.
Tschanz said, “Even if all the billionaires donated their total aggregated wealth of USD 8.5 trillion, they would not bridge the SDGs’ yearly funding gap, estimated at USD 7 trillion. Billionaires have taken up their responsibilities and a growing number of them are active in tackling world epidemic issues. It is up to all of us now to follow the leadership role billionaires have led, raise the power of technology and push for change.”
Now in its fifth year, the Billionaires Insights Report draws on UBS and PwC’s extensive client network and access to data and aims to promote a deeper understanding of the billionaire population globally. Our research includes over 30 face-to-face interviews with billionaires and their heirs and, for the first time, a survey of over 100 UBS client advisors.
Many Billionaires became richer by 27% during the COVID-19 pandemic – Swiss Bank UBS
The world’s richest saw their wealth climb 27.5% to $10.2trn (£7.9trn) from April to July this year.
Many billionaires have seen their fortunes hit record highs during the pandemic, with top executives from technology and industry earning the most.
According to reports from Swiss bank UBS, the world’s richest saw their wealth climb 27.5% to $10.2trn (£7.9trn) from April to July this year.
This is up from the previous peak of $8.9trn at the end of 2017, and largely due to rising global share prices.
It also said the number of billionaires had hit a new high of 2,189, up from 2,158 in 2017. It comes as the recent World Bank report showed that acute poverty is set to rise this year for the first time in more than two decades due to the pandemic.
Among the billionaires, the biggest winners this year have been industrialists, whose wealth rose by a staggering 44% in the three months leading to July.
According to Swiss Bank UBS, “Industrials benefited disproportionately as market price increased in a significant economic recovery [after lockdowns around the world].”
Other lucky beneficiaries of the pandemic are the Tech billionaires, as their wealth soared by 41%, largely due to the corona-induced demand for their goods and services and social distancing, which accelerated and created the impetus for digital businesses; thereby, compressing several years’ of evolution into a few months.
Healthcare billionaires also benefited as the crisis put drug makers and medical device companies in the spotlight.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder Elon Musk – both multi-billionaires – saw their wealth hit new highs this summer, thanks to growth in the price of their companies’ stock.
According to UBS, in the last 11 years, China’s billionaires have increased their wealth by the biggest percentage, climbing 1,146% between 2009 and 2020.
By comparison, over the same period, the wealth of British billionaires has risen by just 168%. But the biggest accumulation of wealth remains in the US, where American billionaires have $3.5trn, compared to China’s $1.7trn.
The UK’s wealthy billionaires have just $205bn, compared to Germany’s $595bn and France’s $443bn.
According to UBS, many billionaires benevolently donated some of their wealth to help with the fight against COVID-19,
“Our research has identified 209 billionaires who have publicly committed a total equivalent to $7.2bn from March to June 2020.
“They have reacted quickly, in a way that’s akin to disaster relief, providing unrestricted grants to allow grantees to decide how best to use funds.”
The UBS report also revealed that the UK billionaires donated less than those from other countries.
In the US, 98 billionaires donated $4.5bn; in China, 12 billionaires gave $679m; and in Australia, just 2 billionaires donated $324m. But in the UK, 9 billionaires donated just $298m.
Wealth of world’s billionaires hits $10.2 trillion
The total billionaire wealth globally has climbed by 27.5%, reaching $10.2 trillion, up from $8.0 trillion at the beginning of April.
As market turbulence continues to propel the wealthiest amongst us; the world’s billionaires have seen their wealth surge to a peak of $10.2 trillion in July, a 14.61% increase from the $8.9 trillion at the end of 2017.
This was uncovered in the 2020 Billionaires report tagged the “Riding Storm” which was published today, by the Swiss bank UBS and the accounting firm PwC.
The report found out that the COVID-19 pandemic turbocharged the global economy’s transition to digital, and this has benefited today’s billionaires, as the pipeline of fresh technologies grows by the day.
The COVID-19 crisis indeed has been the real border between the old and the new economy, as it has spurred increased opportunities for the innovators and the disruptors who dominate the Technology, Health, Industrials, and Entertainment & Media.
However, the net wealth of traditional billionaires in the intermediate industries and sectors, such as entertainment, financial services, materials, and real estate sectors lagged the rest of the universe. While the wealth of those in older industries suffers.
With the number of billionaires declining by 43 to 2,058, the total billionaire wealth globally has climbed by 27.5%, reaching $10.2 trillion, up from $8.0 trillion at the beginning of April, and higher than the previous peak of $8.9 trillion at the end of 2017. The number of billionaires has increased from 2,158 in 2017 to 2,189.
During 2018, 2019, and the first seven months of 2020, the Billionaire class as a whole saw their wealth increase by 19.1%. This clearly signals the polarization taking place, and the rising wealth divergence between billionaires across industries.
Technology billionaires’ total wealth rose by 42.5% to $1.8 trillion, supported by the surge in tech shares. The net worth among those in entertainment, materials, real estate, and finance, lagged the rest of the universe with increases of 10% or less.
However, healthcare billionaires’ total wealth increased by 50.3% to $658.6 billion, boosted by a new age of drug discovery and innovations in diagnostics and medical technology, as well as COVID-19 treatments and equipment.
Geographically, Mainland China benefited most, as billionaire wealth grew fastest in Asia. As of early April 2020, there were 389 Chinese billionaires, worth a total of $1.2 trillion. Their wealth had grown by almost nine times, compared with twice in the US.
The report also revealed that US billionaires collectively controlled $3.6 trillion of the $10.2 trillion global wealth. Billionaires in Mainland China accounted for $1.7 trillion, while Germany and Russia accounted for $594.9 billion and $467.6 billion of the total billionaire wealth respectively.
The report also spiked concerns on the issues of the growing wealth gap and rising inequality in the world, as the majority at the end of the scale has seen their wealth decline owing to the disruption by the global pandemic. The research arm of the United Nations has warned that global poverty could increase this year for the first time since 1990, reversing a decade of progress.
However, it was suggested in the report that higher productivity is needed to address the huge public financial deficits while taking care to reduce social inequality and to tackle the environmental resource scarcity by doing more with less.
Elon Musk now the third-richest person in the world
Musk has seen a meteoric rise in his wealth, with his net worth growing by $87.8 billion this year.
The recent surge in many leading U.S technology stocks have unsurprisingly created wealth for their founders, investors and stock traders.
What we know: Elon Musk just surpassed the co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg to become the third richest person in the world. Shares of Tesla Inc. continued its unrelenting surge after the recent stock split of Tesla stocks. Musk is now estimated to be worth about $115.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Musk is the present chief executive officer of Tesla, a maker of electric vehicles.
The Palo Alto, California-based company sells sedans, sport utility vehicles, and is the state’s largest automotive employer. He’s also CEO of Space Exploration Technologies, a rocket manufacturer tapped by NASA to resupply the space station.
Musk, 49, has seen a meteoric rise in his wealth, with his net worth growing by $87.8 billion this year as Tesla shares surged almost 500%.
Also helpful: an audacious pay package – the largest corporate pay deal ever struck between a chief executive officer and a board of directors – that could yield him more than $50 billion if all goals are met.
On Monday, Nairametrics reported how Tesla’s share price rose to almost $500 following a 5-for-1 split. Nearly 70 million shares had changed hands as at then, two-thirds of the daily average over the past year.
Tesla’s $464 billion market value now exceeds that of retail behemoth Walmart Inc., the largest company in the U.S. by revenue.
Recall Nairametrics, about two weeks ago highlighted major reasons why Nairametrics believed the stock was a strong buy and could surpass the present most valuable listed technology company.
Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker, and more fun to drive than gasoline cars.
Today, Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles but also infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products. Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better.