Asia-Pacific’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) population increase to 3.37 million in 2011, making it home to the largest HNWI population in the world, according to the Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2012 released Wednesday.
The report said that Asia-Pacific’s healthy gross domestic product (GDP) growth and strong base of entrepreneurship helped the region’s HNWI population surpass North America for the first time.
HNWI are defined as those having investable assets of 1 million U.S. dollars or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables.
The report said that Asia-Pacific’s HNWI population growth was steady but uneven, with robust growth in Thailand (12.8 percent), Indonesia (8.2 percent), Chinese Mainland (5.2 percent) and Japan (4.8 percent) offsetting significant declines in the key markets of India (-18 percent) and Hong Kong (-17.4 percent) which had led growth in the last two years.
This increase in Asia-Pacific’s HNWI population has helped contribute to the growth of Singapore and Hong Kong as centers of offshore wealth.
The report said these centers are attractive to Asia-Pacific HNWIs because of their proximity, cultural and linguistic alignment, proactive and transparent regulatory authorities.
As offshore wealth centers in Asia-Pacific grow, wealth management firms face a number of challenges in order to meet client needs. A scarcity of skilled talent is identified by the report as the most pressing issue for firms operating in the region, highlighting that a shortage of experienced wealth managers could undermine the capability of firms to effectively serve large numbers of clients.
The Asia-Pacific Wealth Report, now in its seventh year, is a product of Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management working to better understand the needs of the high net worth marketplace.
Accounting for 91.5 percent of the region’s gross domestic product, the report focuses on 10 core countries and regions: Australia, Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.