High-net-worth individual

High-net-worth individual (HNWI) is a term used by some segments of the financial services industry to designate persons whose investible wealth (assets such as stocks and bonds) exceeds a given amount. Typically, these individuals are defined as holding financial assets (excluding their primary residence) with a value greater than US$1 million.[1][2] "Very-HNWI" (VHNWI) can refer to someone with a net worth of at least US$5 million.[1] As of December 2022, there were estimated to be just over 15 million HNWIs in the world according to the World's Wealthiest Cities Report 2023 by Henley & Partners. The United States had the highest number of HNWIs (5.3 million) of any country, whilst New York is the wealthiest city with 340,000 HNWIs.[3]

The Capgemini World Wealth Report 2020[2] defines an additional class of Ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI), those with US$30 million in investible assets in constant 2018 dollars.[4][5] Other sources such as Credit Suisse define UHNWI as adults with wealth above USD 50 million.[6] It is the wealth segment above very-high-net-worth individuals (greater than $5 million) and high-net-worth-individuals (greater than $1 million). Although they constitute only 0.003% of the world's population (less than 1 in 33,000), they hold 13% of the world's total wealth.[7] By 2017, there were 226,450 individuals designated as UHNWI, representing an increase of 3.5%, with their combined total wealth increasing to $27 trillion.[8] Billionaires are a special category of UHNWI individuals, having net worth in excess of US$1 billion.

Definitions and rankingEdit

Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are defined in the report as having a net worth of at least US$30 million in investible assets net of liabilities (after deducting residential and passion investments such as art, planes, yachts and personal real estate). At last count,[when?] there were 211,275 UHNW individuals in the world, with a total combined net worth of US$29.7 trillion.[RS 1][9]

Billionaires are a special category of UHNW individuals, having net worth in excess of US$1 billion. According to the Billionaire Census 2014, there were 2,325 billionaires in the world, with a combined net worth of US$7.3 trillion.[10] In 2014, these individuals represented just over 1% of the world's UHNW population and 24% of the world's UHNW total wealth. The June 27, 2017 "World Ultra Wealth Report" analysed the state of the world's ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) population, or those with $30m or more in net worth. The number of UHNW individuals globally grew[when?] 3.5% to 226,450 individuals. Their combined total wealth increased by 1.5% to $27 trillion.[8]

According to Credit Suisse, there were 264,200 ultra-high-net-worth individuals with net worth above USD 50 million at the end of 2021.[11]

According to The Knight Frank Wealth Report, HNWI can refer to someone with a net worth of at least US$1 million while UHNWI can refer to someone with a net worth of at least US$30 million.[12]

United States: SEC regulationsEdit

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires all SEC-registered investment advisers to periodically file a report known as Form ADV.[13] Form ADV requires each investment adviser to state how many of their clients are "high-net-worth individuals", among other details; its Glossary of Terms explains that a "high-net-worth individual" is a person who is either a "qualified client" under rule 205-3 of the Advisers Act (currently a person with at least $1,100,000 managed by the reporting investment adviser, or whose net worth the investment adviser reasonably believes exceeds $2,200,000 without counting their primary residence) or who is a "qualified purchaser" as defined in section 2(a)(51)(A) of the Investment Company Act of 1940). The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act mandated that the definition of a qualified client be reviewed every five years and adjusted for inflation.[14] The net worth of an individual for SEC purposes may include assets held jointly with his or her spouse. Unlike the definitions used in the financial and banking trade, the SEC's definition of HNWI would include the value of a person's verifiable non-financial assets, such as a primary residence or art collection.[15]

Annual World Wealth ReportEdit

The World Wealth Report was co-published by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, previously known as Cap Gemini Ernst & Young who worked together since c. 1993, investigating the "needs of high-net-worth individuals" to "successfully serve this market segment". Their first annual World Wealth Report was published in 1996.[16]

The World Wealth Report defines HNWIs as those who hold at least US$1 million in assets excluding primary residence and ultra-HNWIs as those who hold at least US$30 million in assets excluding primary residence.[17] The report states that in 2008 there were 8.6 million HNWIs worldwide, a decline of 14.9% from 2007. The total HNWI wealth worldwide totaled US$32.8 trillion, a 19.5% decrease from 2007. The ultra-HNWIs experienced the greater loss, losing 24.6% in population size and 23.9% in accumulated wealth. The report revised its 2007 projections that HNWI financial wealth would reach US$59.1 trillion by 2012 and revised this downward to a 2013 HNWI wealth valued at $48.5 trillion advancing at an annual rate of 8.1%.[18]

The "World Ultra Wealth Report", on ultra high net worth (UHNW) populations—those with "$30m or more in net worth", which was published on June 27, 2017, "this year revealed global growth of 3.5% to 226,450 individuals and a 1.5% increase of their total combined wealth to $27 trillion."[8]

The 2018 World Wealth Report [19] was jointly produced by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management and included, for the first time, the Global HNW Insights Survey produced in collaboration with Scorpio Partnership.[20] The inaugural survey represented one of the largest and most in-depth surveys of high-net-worth individuals ever conducted, surveying more than 4,400 HNWIs across 21 major wealth markets in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa.

HNWI wealth distribution (by region)[19]
Region HNWI population HNWI wealth
Global 20.8 million $80 trillion
North America 7 million $24.3 trillion
Asia-Pacific 6.9 million $24 trillion
Europe 5.4 million $17.5 trillion
Middle East 0.8 million $3.2 trillion
Latin America 0.6 million $9 trillion
Africa 0.2 million $1.8 trillion

The World Wealth Report has estimated the number and combined investable wealth of high-net-worth individuals as follows (using the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation Calculator):[21]

World Wealth Report Findings 1996-2019
Year Number of
Total wealth of HNWIs
(trillions USD)
Nominal In Jan 1996 $
1996[22] 4.5 16.6 16.6
1997[22] 5.2 19.1 18.54
1998[22] 5.9 21.6 20.6
1999[22] 7.0 25.5 24.0
2000[22] 7.2 27.0 24.7
2001[22] 7.1 26.2 23.1
2002[22] 7.3 26.7 23.3
2003[22] 7.7 28.5 24.2
2004[22] 8.2 30.7 25.6
2005[22] 8.7 33.3 27.0
2006[23] 9.5 37.2 29.0
2007[24] 10.1 40.7 31.1
2008[24] 8.6 32.8 24.0
2009[24] 10.0 39.0 28.5
2010[24] 10.9 42.7 30.4
2011[25] 11.0 42.0 29.5
2012[2] 12.0 46.2 31.5
2013[2] 13.7 52.6 35.3
2014[2] 14.7 56.4 37.2
2015[2] 15.4 58.7 38.8
2016[2] 16.5 63.5 41.4
2017[2] 18.1 70.2 44.6
2018[2] 18.0 68.1 42.4
2019[2] 19.6 74.0 45.4


Certain products cater to the wealthy, whose conspicuous consumption of luxury goods and services includes, for example: mansions, yachts, first-class airline tickets and private jets, and personal umbrella insurance.[26] As economic growth has made historically expensive items affordable for the middle-class, purchases have trended towards intangible products such as education.[26] In the United States, concierge medicine is an emerging trend as of 2017.[27]

Banking and financeEdit

Most global banks, such as Santander, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS, have a separate business unit with designated teams consisting of client advisors and product specialists exclusively for UHNWI.[28] These clients are often considered to have characteristics similar to institutional investors because the vast majority of their net worth and current income is derived from passive sources rather than labor.

By 2006, asset managers working for HNW individuals invested more than £300 billion on behalf of their clients. These wealth managers are bankers who in 2006, earned multimillion-pound salaries and owned their own companies and equity funds.[29] In 2006, a list of the 50 top investment bankers was published by the Spear's Wealth Management Survey.


Certain magazines, such as Monocle,[30] Robb Report,[31] and Worth, are designed for a high net worth audience.


Brands in various sectors, such as Bentley, Maybach, and Rolls-Royce actively target UHNWI and HNWI to sell their products. In 2006, Rolls-Royce researchers suggested there were 80,000 people in ultra-high-net-worth category around the world. UHNW individuals "have, on average, eight cars and three or four homes. Three-quarters own a jet aircraft and most have a yacht."[32]

Number of HNWIs per cityEdit

As of December 2022, New York is the wealthiest city in the world with 340,000 HNWIs according to the World's Wealthiest Cities Report 2023 by Henley & Partners.[33]

Rank City Number of
1   New York City 340,000
2   Tokyo 290,300
3   San Francisco Bay Area 285,000
4   London 258,000
5   Singapore 240,100
6   Los Angeles 205,400
7   Hong Kong 129,500
8   Beijing 128,200
9   Shanghai 127,200
10   Sydney 126,900

Number of UHNWIs per cityEdit

There are two different sources compiling these statistics: one the Knight Frank Wealth Report, and the other Wealth-X.

2020 Wealth-X Report
Rank City Number of
1   New York City 10,435
2   Hong Kong 9,950
3   Tokyo 7,800
4   Los Angeles 6,150
5   Paris 4,670
6   London 4,535
7   Chicago 3,890
8   San Francisco 3,410
9   Washington, DC 3,230
10   Dallas 3,165
2019 Knight Frank Wealth Report
Rank City Number of
1   London 4,944
2   Singapore 3,598
3   Tokyo 3,732
4   New York City 3,378
5   Beijing 1,673
6   Paris 1,667
7   Seoul 1,594
8   Taipei 1,519
9   Zurich 1,507
10   Shanghai 1,263

The World Ultra Wealth Report 2013 was co-published by Wealth-X and UBS. The fifth edition of the report was published on June 27, 2017.[8] Previous World Ultra Wealth Reports were published independently by Wealth-X, in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

World UHNW distribution by wealth tier[36]
Net worth
US$ millions
2013 2012 2012–2013
Numbers of
Total wealth
US$ billions
Numbers of
Total wealth
US$ billions
Increase in
numbers of
Increase in
Total wealth
$1000+ 2,170 6,516 2,160 6,190 0.5% 5.3%
$750 to $999 1,080 929 990 855 9.1% 8.7%
$500 to $749 2,660 1,695 2,475 1,560 7.5% 8.7%
$250 to $499 8,695 3,420 8,090 3,225 7.5% 6.0%
$200 to $249 14,185 3,205 13,500 3,035 5.1% 5.6%
$100 to $199 23,835 3,780 22,290 3,335 6.9% 13.3%
$50 to $99 60,760 4,720 56,205 4,295 8.1% 9.9%
$30 to $49 85,850 3,505 81,670 3,280 5.1% 6.9%
Total 199,235 27,770 187,380 25,775 6.3% 7.7%

Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth ReportEdit

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 2014 Global Wealth Report,[RS 2] shows that liquid wealth of the super-rich, referenced as Ultra-High-Net-Worth households, had increased by 20% in 2013. BCG uses a household definition of UHNW, which places only those with more than $100 million liquid financial wealth into the UHNW-category, more than the usual $30 million, with which the ultra-category had been created in 2007. They control 5.5% of global financial wealth. 5,000 of them live in the US, followed by China, Britain and Germany. BCG expects the trend toward more concentrated wealth to continue unabated. While financial wealth of the sub-millionaires is expected to increase by 3.7% annually until 2019, the expected growth rate for the super-rich is 9.1%. The share of this group in global financial wealth would thus increase to 6.5% by 2019.[37][needs update]

UHNW characteristicsEdit

By 2013, 65% of the world's UHNW population was self-made, as opposed to 19% who had inherited their fortune and 16% who had inherited and grown their wealth. These proportions change dramatically by gender. In the 2013 report, it was revealed that only 12% of the world's UHNW population is female, and of these, only 33% are self-made, as opposed to 70% of male UHNW.[38] According to the same 2013 report, twenty-two percent of self-made UHNW individuals have derived their wealth from finance, banking and investment. Almost 15% of individuals with inherited wealth are engaged in non-profit and social organisations.[39]

As of 2014, Asia's growth was expected to continue,[40] and this change in demographics has significant impact on the various organizations that target UHNW individuals, such as luxury companies, financial institutions, charities and universities.

Largest UHNW population, 2018
Source: Credit Suisse[RS 3]
Country UHNW Population
  USA 70,540
  China 16,510
  India 6,884
  Germany 6,320
  United Kingdom 4,670
  Japan 3,580
  Italy 3,220
  France 3,040
  Canada 3,010
  Australia 2,910

Billionaire CensusEdit

The Billionaire Census is a co-publication of Wealth-X and UBS.

In 2013 for example, the average net worth of the world's billionaire is US$3 billion, with a liquidity on average of 18% of net worth.[41] 60% of the world's billionaires are self-made, 20% have inherited their fortune and 20% have both inherited and grown their wealth. 18% of the world's billionaires have derived their wealth from finance, banking and investment; as opposed to 9% from industrial conglomerates and 7% from the real estate industry.[41] The average billionaire is 62 years old, and 89% of the world's billionaires are male. Approximately 68% of them have a bachelor's degree or higher levels of education.[41]

UHNWI role in economies: luxury industry and UHNW individuals as consumersEdit

UHNW individuals are important not only to the finance, banking and investment industry; but also to luxury companies who target UHNW individuals, charities, universities and schools amongst others.[citation needed] UHNW individuals are notable players in the field of philanthropy; many have their own private foundations and support a variety of causes, from education to poverty relief.

Financial institutions are known for their targeting of UHNW individuals, having specific parts of their bank designed to manage the wealth of their UHNW clients.[5] In addition, research on the UHNW is particularly important with upcoming intergenerational wealth transfers in the UHNW population.[42] For example, as of 2014, luxury companies typically target UHNW as a separate segment of their clientele. Daily Finance in 2014, projected that growth in UHNW population in Asia looked promising for the future of the luxury industry.[43]

The India's Economic Times said in 2014 that, despite the luxury industry's troubled year with China's luxury spenders, luxury industry experts continued to be optimistic for their long-term performance, especially from UHNW individuals.[44] According to Savills and Wealth-X, in 2014, UHNW individuals are particularly relevant to the real estate sector, with the total UHNW population's real estate holdings accounting for over US$5 trillion by 2014, or 3% of the world's real estate holdings. This is a huge proportion considering this population is only 0.003% of the world's population.[45]

Offshore bankEdit

By 2012, according to Reuters, the UHNW individuals held $32 trillion in offshore havens.[RS 4]

Migration of HNWIs by countryEdit

The following table shows the countries with the highest net inflows and outflows of HNWIs in 2022 according to the annual Henley & Partners Global Citizens Report.[46] Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Incoming HNWIs
Rank Country No. of Inflow
1   United Arab Emirates 4,000
2   Australia 3,500
3   Singapore 2,800
4   Israel 2,500
5   Switzerland 2,200
Outgoing HNWIs
Rank Country No. of Outflow
1   Russia 15,000
2   China 10,000
3   India 8,000
4   Hong Kong 3,000
5   Ukraine 2,800

See alsoEdit

Reliable sourcesEdit

  1. ^ "World's Ultra Wealthy Population Reaches All-Time Record". WSJ Online. September 10, 2013. Archived from the original on September 14, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  2. ^ "Global Wealth 2014: Riding a Wave of Growth". www.bcg.com. Archived from the original on 2018-08-08. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  3. ^ "Top 10 countries with most ultra-high-net-worth individuals - Chinadaily.com.cn". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Archived from the original on 2019-04-22. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  4. ^ "Super rich hold $32 trillion in offshore havens". Reuters. July 22, 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2020.


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External linksEdit