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Number of ultra-rich Malaysians up 3%

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KUALA LUMPUR — April 13, 2017: The number of ultra-high-net-worth Malaysians (UHNWIs) increased by three per cent last year or a total of 30 compared to a 15 per cent decline in 2015, according to the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2017.

The global real estate consultancy defines UHNWI as an individual with US$30 million (US$1 = RM4.41) or more in net assets. There were 1,020 such individuals in Malaysia in 2016 compared to 990 in 2015.

The company’s head of research for Asia-Pacific, Nicolas Holt, said the reason for the increase was partly due to the firmer stock markets after President Donald Trump’s victory and the commodity markets’ recovery.

“On a global scale, UHNWIs added 6,340 individuals to the overall total of 193,490, with a majority of the individuals coming from North America and Europe,” Holt said after announcing the Wealth Report 2017 here today.

However, Asia in a few years would be challenging for the top spot as at present it has 27,020 fewer UHNWIs than North America, and the difference is expected to shrink to 7,680 by 2026.

The executive director of capital markets, James Buckley, said Malaysian UHNWIs allocated about 23 per cent of their portfolios to real estate, excluding primary residence and second homes.

“With wealth preservation being the most significant concern, Malaysian UHNWIs are more likely to invest in Asian markets as it is easier for them to stay educated and stay abreast with changes to regulations or economic trends,” he said.

Malaysian UHNWIs are more inclined to invest in properties in the United Kingdom or Australia, with 72 per cent respondents stating that education is one of the key drivers to do so.

Currently, Kuala Lumpur is ranked 31 from 40 countries worldwide in the Knight Frank City Wealth Index 2017, with London and New York occupying first and second. — Bernama

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