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(From Private Banker International)
In 2004, the wealth of the world's richest people increased significantly, marking a clear rebound from the ravages of the bear market over the turn of the millennium. Leading the charge was the US. For the first time, Americans were ahead of Europeans in terms of both total wealth and number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) The accumulation of wealth among the rich in 2004 hit its fastest pace since first being tracked by the benchmark World Wealth Report, published by financial adviser Merrill Lynch and consultancy Capgemini.
HNWI wealth rose 8.2 percent in 2004 to total $30.8 trillion. This is the sharpest annual gain since the report was first issued in 1997. It is also a noticeable increase on the 7.7 percent growth in global wealth in 2003, when personal assets were still recovering from the onslaught of the 2000-2003 bear market.
In 2004, the number of HNWIs - those with $1 million or more of net assets - also grew, by 7.3 percent to total 8.3 million individuals globally.
"Last year, the two primary drivers of personal wealth generation - GDP growth and [stock] market capitalisation - worked in concert to drive …