LONDON — The biggest worry for the world’s richest people is their personal safety, said Ian Bremmer, founder and President of Eurasia Group.
In luxury estate agent Knight Frank’s “Wealth Report,” the report’s editor Andrew Shirley quoted Bremmer as saying that the biggest fear for ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) — those with $US30 million (£24.2 million) or more in net assets — is not necessarily economic.
“As inequality grows, walls are going up and people in positions of great wealth are increasingly being targeted. The Panama papers were not about the middle classes, they were about the wealthy. Now, UHNWIs’ biggest concern is not their capital, it’s their personal safety,” said Bremmer.
“As the dangers of kidnapping, for example, go up, they will need to consider how they want to live their lives, how they interact with the world as a whole, and how they feel about themselves as human beings. What kind of future do they want for their children? What kind of society do they want to live in? They need to think more about that, frankly. That should be the principal concern that they have.”
In January, Oxfam published a report that said just
eight individuals, all men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. The charity called the wealth gap “obscene” and called for a crackdown on tax avoidance for the world’s richest people and how governments need to try and curb, what it sees as, excessive pay and bonuses for company executives.
In May last year, there was huge furore surrounding the publication of a
huge database about how some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people hide their cash — dubbed the “Panama Papers.”
Anyone in the world is able to scour through the database of 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations, and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens to see where the world’s richest people squirrelled away their wealth in order to pay as little tax as possible.
Over the years, rich people have consistently voiced their concerns over personal safety. In India, for example, the threat of kidnapping wealthy families’ children is high. Children of the super-rich are seen as bargaining chips for a ransom and are sometimes killed if the ransom is not paid. In the US, while kidnappings are less prevalent, it is still a major concern for the ultra-wealthy.
In 2015, The Economist highlighted the growth of “quickie kidnappings” which has led to kidnappers abducting children, demanding a ransom, and receiving the cash within two hours.