The Top 1% Now Controls 39% Of The World's Wealth

monopolyMiss Universe Riyo Mori (L) tweaks the moustache of an actor playing Mr. Monopoly.

The wealthiest 1 per cent now control 39 per cent of the world’s wealth, and their share is likely to grow in the coming years, according to a new report.

The world’s total private wealth grew 7.8 per cent last year to $135 trillion, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s Global Wealth report. The top 1 per cent control $52.8 trillion, and those worth $5 million or more control nearly a quarter of the world’s wealth.

That concentration is likely to increase in the coming years as the wealth of the wealthy grows faster than overall global wealth. The number of millionaires in the world surged by 10 per cent year, reaching 13.8 million. The study predicts that global wealth will grow around 4.8 per cent a year over the next five years—though millionaires will see their wealth grow nearly twice as fast.

Those worth $5 million or more will see their wealth grow 8 per cent, while those worth more than $100 million will see their wealth grow 9.2 per cent. The $100-million-plus group will see their share of global wealth grow to 6.8 per cent in 2017 from the current 5.5 per cent.

What’s driving the wealth of the wealthy? It depends on the country. In the developed world—the U.S. and Europe— it’s mainly stocks. And stocks have been on a tear this year in the U.S., which has mainly benefited the top 5 per cent, who own 60 per cent of all individually held stocks.

(Read More: Surging Stock Market Cheers Up the Rich)

In developing markets, the main wealth creator is economic growth and savings. Yet the amount of wealth held in stocks and in offshore wealth (again mainly held by the wealthy) in developing countries is also growing. The amount of wealth held in equities in Asia (excluding Japan) surged by 21.9 per cent in 2012.

(Read More: Why Millionaire Investors Are Holding On to Cash)

By CNBC’s Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank.

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