Number of ultra-high-net-worth Malaysians growing

(From left) Knight Frank Sdn Bhd international project marketing (residential) senior manager Dominic Heaton-Watson, Knight Frank Asia Pacific research head Nicholas Holt, Knight Frank Sdn Bhd managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam and capital markets executive director James Buckley at the launch of the property consultancy’s 2017 Kight Frank Wealth Report.

KUALA LUMPUR: The ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) in Malaysia recorded a 3% increase in 2016 compared to a 15% decline in 2015, said Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2017.

The global real estate consultancy defined UHNWI as an “individual with US$30mil (RM132mil) or more in net assets”, and that there were 1,020 individuals in Malaysia (in 2016) compared to 990 in 2015. 

Head of research for Asia-Pacific, Nicholas Holt, said the reason for the increase was partly due to the firmer stock markets after President Donald Trump’s victory and the commodity markets’ recovery. 

“On the global scale, UHNWIs added 6,340 individuals to the overall total of 193,490, with majority of the individuals coming from North America and Europe,” he told reporters after announcing the Wealth Report 2017 in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

However, Holt said, Asia in a few years would be challenging for the top spot as at present it has 27,020 fewer UHNWIs than North America, and the difference was expected to shrink to 7,680 individuals by 2026.

Meanwhile, executive director of capital markets, James Buckley, said Malaysian UHNWIs allocated about 23% of their portfolios to real estate, excluding primary residence and second homes.

“With wealth preservation being the most significant concern, Malaysian UHNWIs are more likely to invest in Asian markets as it is easier for them to stay educated and stay abreast with changes to regulations or economic trends,” he said. 

Malaysian UHNWIs were more inclined to invest in properties in the UK or Australia, with 72% respondents stating that education was one of the key drivers to do so, Buckley said.

Currently, Kuala Lumpur is ranked 31 among 40 countries worldwide in the Knight Frank City Wealth Index 2017, with London and New York occupying the first and second spots. - Bernama
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