The number of billionaires in Australia is about to double

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  • Australians are getting wealthier, with almost three out of every ten worth $US1 million or more.
  • As a group, Australians hold $US6.1 trillion in net assets. Around $US1.7 trillion of that, or 28%, of this is held by high net worth individuals.
  • The average person in Australia has net assets of $US279,000. This makes Australia the fifth wealthiest country in the world on a per capita basis, behind Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Australia’s capacity to create wealthy people is growing.

The number of US dollar billionaires in Australia will double to 80 from 36 in less than a decade, according to analysis by consultancy New World Wealth.

And the rise of high net worth individuals (HNWIs), those with net assets of $US1 million ($A1.36 million) or more, will continue with Australia expected to have more than 650,000 by 2027, up from 377,000.

Total wealth held in Australia rose strongly over the 10 years to $US6.1 trillion in 2017 from $US3.4 trillion in 2007.

Wealth grew with the help rising real estate vales, especially on the East Coast, a strong local equity market, and high performing industry sectors including financial services, professional services, real estate, transport, IT, telecoms and healthcare.

The report, Australia 2018 Wealth Report, says growth in Australian wealth is expected to be strong over the next 10 years with total wealth reaching $US10.4 trillion.

This will make Australia the seventh largest wealth market in the world by 2027, moving up from seventh, overtaking Canada and France. It will also come within touching distance of Germany and the UK.

New World Wealth also expects strong migration of the wealthy to Australia, attracted by a safe and free society with strong links to Asia, to continue.

In 2017, Australia topped the world with a net inflow of 10,000 HNWIs. Second was the US with 9,000.

These high net worth individuals like their taxes low, something Australia doesn’t have.

However, what the wealthy like about Australia’s tax system is that there are no inheritance taxes.

“This encourages wealthy people to stay in the country and build their businesses for future generations,” says the report.

New World Wealth put the reasons for its high Australian wealth growth forecasts as:

  • Low population density and a mineral-rich large land area.
  • A very safe country. Australia was recently rated as one of the five safest countries for women (along with Iceland, Malta, New Zealand and Canada).
  • Australia has strong business ties with Asia including China, Japan and Korea.

The average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average US citizen, reversing the situation of then years ago.

Over the past 10 years, wealth per capita in Australia has risen by 83% to $US279,000 compared to just 20% growth in the US with $US193,400.

On several measures — safety, social services and wealth per capita — Australia is now the leading first world country worldwide.

The US is only the leading country worldwide by total wealth and total GDP but the US has over 300 million people living there.

And if financial hubs and tax havens Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland are excluded from calculations, then Australia ranks first in the world on average wealth per person in US dollars:

  • Monaco: $2,087,400
  • Liechtenstein: $761,100
  • Luxembourg: $368,000
  • Switzerland: $354,000
  • Australia: $279,200
  • Norway: $228,000
  • Singapore: $194,500
  • United States: $193,400
  • Canada: $185,300
  • New Zealand: $173,700

This latest research follows Credit Suisse Research Institute’s 2018 Global Wealth Report showing Australia as the country with the highest median household wealth at $US191,453.

The wealthy like what they see in Australia, says the analysis from New World Wealth.

Australia is arguably the most politically developed country in the world with politicians viewed as everyday public servants without extreme power.

The consultancy points to the recent high turnover of prime ministers to support this statement.

“Notably, the prime minister of Australia is often replaced between elections if party members feel they need a change,” the report says.

“Australian politicians also don’t have much security around them and often wonder around public spaces on their own. In most other countries (including the US), politicians have excessive security which sends a very bad message to the everyday person… that politicians are better/more important than the everyday person.

“In Australia politicians are seen as easily replaceable which is probably the way it should be.”

The report also says Australia has the highest minimum wage — at $AU719.20 a week — in the world.

The only area where Australia is still well behind the US is in terms of big multi-nationals, especially in those in tech, says the report.

As of September this year, the US is home to eight of the ten largest companies in the world by market cap. The other two are based in China.

“Australia has some catching up to do in this area,” says the report.

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