Per capita, Luxembourg had one of the highest shares of millionaire residents in the world in 2020. Library photo: Matic Zorman 

Per capita, Luxembourg only has two competitors when it comes to the number of millionaires in the country: Switzerland and Monaco, says Robert van der Eijk, managing director of Capgemini Invent Europe Cluster.

The average wealth of a millionaire in the grand duchy was €2.96m, the World Wealth Report states, an amount that excludes the main residence, various collections as well as consumer goods. All millionaires combined were worth $126.68bn in 2020, 8.3% more than in 2019.

Financial investments drove this increase, with their value rising by 16.6% in one year, and with the price of real estate (+ 9.8% over one year) serving as another factor. The pandemic-induced drop in GDP played only a marginal role, one more sign of the disconnect between markets from the real economy.

The trend observed in Luxembourg isn’t isolated. The number of high-net-worth individuals--that is to say people with investable assets in excess of one million dollars--increased by 6.3% to exceed 20m, Capgemini said. Their wealth also grew, by 7.6% or $80bn, because of dynamic stock markets and government stimulus plans.

There was even more movement in the ultra-wealthy segment--people with investable assets exceeding $30m million--both in terms of number (+ 9.6%) and wealth (+ 9.1%). There was lower growth in number (6%) and wealth (8%) in the bracket of millionaires with investable assets between $1m and $5m and $5m and $30m.

North America takes the lead

Notably, North America surpassed the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) in terms of the number of millionaires and assets. North America counted around 7m of the world’s millionaires (+10.7% over one year), the Asia-Pacific region 6.9m (+ 5.8%). Europe had a total of 5.4 million (+2.8%), with the Middle East at 800,000 (+6.8%).

Four countries accounted for 62.9% of wealthy people: the US, Japan, Germany and China. France came in fifth place in this ranking.

In terms of assets, the increase was driven by the performance of the equity markets. Moreover, it is the dynamism of the American markets, and in particular the Nasdaq (+ 46.64%), which explains the American leadership vis-à-vis Asia.

Assets of US millionaires grew 11.9% year on year (or $24.3bn), while those of Asian millionaires grew by 8.4% (or $24bn) and those of millionaire Europeans by 4.5% ($17.5bn).

In 1997, when Capgemini's study was first published, there were 5.2m wealthy people in the world, whose fortunes amounted to $19.1trn. In 2020, 20.8m wealthy people are registered and have accumulated $79.6trn in assets.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.