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Superrich come roaring back

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, September 23, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

The collapse of Lehman Brothers, an event that defined the steepest recession since the Great Depression, hit everyone hard -- even the ultrawealthy.

hedging-retirement-risks-3-inflationIn the year following the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman, individuals with at least $30 million in assets (defined as ultrawealthy) lost more than 22 percent of their wealth, according to research firm Wealth-X. The population of ultrawealthy declined by 20 percent.

But five years later, while the general population is still recovering from financial losses and a sluggish economy, the fortunes of the rich are skyrocketing.

Though both the Main Street population and the rich bled money in the wake of the Lehman collapse, the ultrawealthy are experiencing a very different financial recovery than the rest of the population, according to Mykolas D. Rambus, CEO of Wealth-X. "(The rich) were able in many cases to seize opportunities for buying cheap assets, from equities to housing, that Main Street could not, hence their substantial initial gains in the aftermath," he said in a statement.

This year, the world's population of ultrawealthy grew by 6 percent from a year earlier to hit a record 199,235. Combined, their fortunes amount to nearly $28 trillion.

While recent growth of the ultrawealthy mostly came from North America and Europe, in the next five years, Wealth-X forecasts that Asia will surpass both regions in growth of rich individuals and assets.

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