India’s club of those worth more than one million US dollars – that’s Rs 4.8 crore – was growing every year for seven years, but the number plunged steeply to 84,000 in 2008 from 123,000 a year earlier, says an annual report that counts the wealthy, technically dubbed High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI). But the rich are expected to bounce back.
The country’s plunge was the worst after HongKong.
The report, which counts wealth other than residence and jewellery, is prepared by investment bank Merrill Lynch with consulting firm Capgemini. Pradeep Dokania, managing director at Indian joint venture DSP Merill Lynch said the steep plunge in global markets caused the dip.
“However, we feel that as things begin to stabilise this number is bound to go up again,” he said.
China and Brazil moved into the Top 10 in HNWI count, echoing the rise of the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) group of emerging economies.
“We feel that the leadership in the HNWI population would shift from North America to the Asia Pacific region by 2013,” said Dokani. China is now behind only Germany, Japan and the US in the number of millionaires.
The report said that HNWIs in 2008 made greater investments in fixed income and cash-based options, looked more towards local investments and grew the share of real estate in their portfolios.