One in five of Middle East’s super-rich lives in the UAE

One in five of the Middle East’s super-rich live in the UAE, according to new figures from Wealth-X, an intelligence firm.

It said the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, which it classes as those with net assets of US$30 million or more, in the UAE was 1,275.

They have a combined net worth of $225 billion. Some 495 of them live in Dubai, while 450 reside in Abu Dhabi.

Across the Middle East, there are 5,975 of these tycoons, with collective net assets of $995bn.

The UAE places 22nd on Wealth-X’s league table of countries with various numbers of wealthy individuals. Saudi Arabia is ranked at 18th, while Kuwait, the next GCC country after the UAE, is ranked at 32nd.

The study said that only 3 per cent of the UAE’s super-wealthy made their fortune through oil and gas, 8 per cent fully inherited theirs, and 35 per cent partly inherited their wealth and then grew it.

More than 57 per cent of the richest people in the country are self-made.

David Awit, Wealth-X’s director for the Middle East, said the ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the UAE managed to increase their wealth this year despite the UAE equity markets’ sharp decline in the past year.

In terms of wealth creation, the region was the fastest-growing across the world; the number of the super-rich rose 12.7 per cent year-on-year and the value of their assets increased 13.1 per cent.

Saudi Arabia has the biggest share of the region’s super-rich, with 1,495 individuals, or 25 per cent of the region’s total. They have a combined wealth of $320bn.

Globally there are 211,275 super-rich individuals with a combined net worth of $29.7 trillion.

According to a report published this year by CapGemini and RBC Wealth Management, investors in the Middle East tend to allocate more of their assets outside the region than investors elsewhere around the world.

The percentage of capital that Middle East investors annually invest in the region fell to 57.1 per cent in the first quarter this year from 65.2 per cent in the same period in 2013.

Their investment in Asia declined, but their allocations to Europe and US assets rose 17 per cent (from 11.9 per cent) and 8.5 per cent (from 5.5 per cent) respectively.

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