Australia’s wealthiest people might have spent most of the year crying into their champagne over the shrinking size of their investment portfolio, but it’s not all bad news.
There are now 132,000 millionaire households in Australia, up from 128,000 in 2010 according to The Boston Consulting Group’s 12th annual global wealth report, titled Global Wealth 2012: The Battle to Regain Strength.
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In 2011, Australia also had 228 ultra-high net worth households (with personal wealth of more than $US100 million), unchanged from the previous year.
Unsurprisingly, equities were the hardest hit asset class in 2011 for Australia, reducing their share of total wealth to 38%.
While growth in personal wealth in Australia stalled at $US2.34 trillion in 2011, Australia did better than the average for the developed world, where wealth actually decreased by 1%.
Personal wealth across Australia increased by just 0.3% in 2011, compared with 1.9% globally as wealth rates in major developed economies declined.
The growth globally came from emerging markets, where wealth jumped by 10%, with China leading the way with wealth up almost 20% in one year.
Australia was again ranked 17th by country in terms of number of millionaire households.
The United States topped the list with 5.13 million millionaire households, followed by Japan with 1.59 million and China with 1.43 million.
But the number of millionaire households in the top two countries, the United States and Japan, fell markedly.
Wealth grew fastest in Eastern Europe, followed by the Asia-Pacific region.
The leader of BCG’s financial services practice in Australia, Matthew Rogozinski, said Australians were better off than the global figure suggested.
“Most countries in the developed world had a poor year, with wealth decreasing,” he said in a statement accompanying the report.
“The global average was lifted into positive territory by strong growth in emerging markets, with China leading the way.
“In simple terms, wealth in the developed countries shrank by 1%, but increased by 10% in emerging markets.
“Australia fared better than its peers in 2011 and, since 2006, we are well ahead of the averages for wealth growth in Western Europe, North America and Japan.”
The news of Australia’s newly minted millionaire households comes as Australia continues to punch above its weight in the billionaire stakes with Australian’s starring on the Forbes Billionaire List.