The world's millionaires are back in the black for the first time since before the economic crisis and are shifting out of cash and fixed-income and into equity investments.
Worldwide, the population of millionaires (10.9 million at the end of 2010) has hit a new high, increasing its numbers by 8.3 percent since 2009, according to the 15th annual World Wealth Report. Millionaires control $42.7 trillion globally, 9.3 percent more than the previous year and up from $40.7 trillion in 2007.
Both the number of millionaires and the amount of their wealth has now surpassed pre-financial crisis levels in 2007, according to the report released by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and CapGemini.
The U.S. still houses the most high-net-worth individuals, defined as those with more than $1 million in investable assets, with 3.1 million. More than half (53 percent) of the world's millionaires live in the U.S., Japan and Germany.
The ultra-wealthy population -- those with $30 million or more to invest -- increased even more in 2010, by 10.2 percent to 103,000. Though they represent less than 1 percent of the wealthy population, they own 36 percent of the wealth, or $15.4 trillion.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the wealthy are concerned with preserving their assets, but they are shifting out of cash and fixed-income products and into stocks. Worldwide, the wealthy increased their portfolio stock allocations to 33 percent in 2010, from 29 percent in 2009. Average equity allocations in North America were 42 percent. Cash and fixed-income investments fell from 48 percent of their portfolio in 2009 to 43 percent in 2010.
Though the rich are still concerned about taxes and the economy, the move toward riskier equities is an indication of confidence. Do you share their optimism?
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