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Global billionaire population to cross 3,800 by 2020: Wealth-X

business Updated: Sep 18, 2014 15:09 IST
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The population of billionaires globally is likely to surpass 3,800 by 2020, with the technology sector expected to create a significant number of new super-rich in the coming years, says a report.

Billionaires are defined as those individuals with a net worth of USD 1 billion or above and currently these super-rich people control nearly 4 per cent of the world's wealth.

There is one billionaire for every three million people on the planet.

According to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014, the global billionaire population would surpass 3,800 by 2020. This forecast reflects the current wealth distribution in the wider ultra high-net-worth (UHNW) population and the possibility of certain sectors, such as technology, becoming increasingly profitable.

This year's forecast for future billionaire growth also incorporated different confidence levels, to account for possible changes in global economic circumstances affecting wealth accumulation.

In the most bullish scenario, there would be over 4,100 billionaires by 2020, an increase of 78 per cent on their current levels. In the most conservative scenario, the global billionaire population will rise to around 3,600 billionaires by 2020, a net increase of only 56 per cent.

"The overall size and net worth of the world's billionaire population will continue to grow, presenting immense opportunities," the report said.

The growth of the technology industry is likely to create a significant number of new billionaires in the coming years as more innovation and growth is anticipated going forward. Currently, less than 4 per cent of the world's ultra-rich have made their wealth in this sector.

"Other industries are also likely to contribute to an increase in the number of billionaires globally, especially as emerging markets continue to develop and mature," the report said.

Between 2012 and 2013, the number of billionaires grew by just 0.5 per cent, while between 2013 and 2014, it increased by as much as 7.1 per cent.

Such large variations in the growth rate of billionaire population are not unexpected, as a significant portion of billionaires' wealth is not necessarily correlated to global wealth conditions, the report said.

"Due to this volatility, movements of UHNW individuals between the billionaire and demi-billionaire (defined as those with a net worth between USD 500 and USD 999 million) clubs are frequent, the report added.