India is home to an estimated 61,000 high net worth individuals (HNIs) at the end of 2003, whose wealth stood at $267 billion. The number of HNIs increased 22 per cent from 50,000 HNIs in 2002.
As per the 2004 world wealth report published by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini released on Wednesday, the sharp jump in the number of wealthy individuals in India is mainly on account of a booming stock market and healthy economic growth.
The benchmark 30-share Sensex surged 73 per cent in 2003, the second biggest gainer among the Asian markets and one of the best performing markets in the world. Merrill Lych and Capgemini considered those who owns financial assets of at least $1 million excluding their primary residence as HNIs.
Briefing the media through video conference from Geneva, Rajan Sehgal, country head for India and global NRI market manager, Merrill Lynch Global Private Client, said: “Among individual countries in terms of HNIs percentage growth, India recorded one of the biggest jump in 2003.
Apart from equity rally, the jump was also on account of wealth created by non-traditional industries like business process outsourcing (BPO). One of the reasons for India’s superlative performance in terms of addition of HNIs in 2003 was because of its low base.”
As per the report, in 2003 the total number of HNIs in Hong Kong stood at 45,000, up 30 per cent from last year. The US housed 22,72,000 HNIs, a rise of 14 per cent from last year’s figure while United Kingdom housed 3,83,000, a rise of 8 per cent and China 2,36.000, an addition of 12 per cent.
As per the report, there were an estimated 7.7 million HNIs globally in 2003, up 7.5 per cent, or a net 5,00,000 people compared with the calendar year 2002. During the same period the total global wealth of these HNIs climbed 7.7 per cent to $28.8 trillion.
Mr Sehgal added: “An estimated net 11,000 more Indians were added to the HNIs list in 2003. This was mainly because, as compared to previous years, HNIs were quick to respond to global trends affecting their ability to preserve and grow their wealth. Wealthy investors in the US, China and India were able to capitalise on these trends despite a great deal of geo-political uncertainty,” Mr Sehgal added.
“Following the two impressive years, both India and China registered red hot GDP growth rates, 7.4 per cent and 9.1 per cent, respectively,” the report said. Mr Baru Rao, CEO, Capgemini India, said: “Now, advisors around the world are seeing their clients’ demands as being similar to institutional investors. We can play a role in helping our financial services customers address these demands.”