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Super-rich control $30tn of global wealth, or 40 percent of world GDP - study

Super-rich control $30tn of global wealth, or 40 percent of world GDP - study
About 13 percent of global wealth of adults is concentrated in the hands of 0.004 percent of the population, according to a new study. And the trend is set to continue with the number of high net worth individuals reached a record 211,275 in 2014.

Swiss bank UBS and consulting firm Wealth-X compiled the World Ultra Wealth Report 2014 released Thursday.

"Ultra-high net worth" (UHNW) individuals are defined as people with a fortune of about $30 million. Of the 211,275 that fall into the category, 2,325 are billionaires, a 7.1 percent increase since last year. Experts believe the number of billionaires could rise to 4,000 by 2020.

"Even amidst geopolitical conflicts, socio-economic strife, and volatile currency markets, the world's equity markets displayed strong performances, thereby enabling UHNW individuals' wealth to increase and their influence across industries and sectors to grow -- from their importance in wealth management to their consumption of luxury goods," the report said.

READ MORE: Number of billionaires hits new record high in 2014-report

The UHNW adult population account for approximately 1 in every 35,000 people in the world, or just 0.004 percent.

"Such a large concentration of wealth in the hands of these few individuals means that they tend to have a large degree of influence, whether on global equity markets or specific industries,” the report says

Average wealth of an UHNW individual has risen to $139.4 million, up $1.8 million last year, a more than 77 percent increase.

The geographical heavyweight was again North America, which accounts for nearly a third of the total $30 trillion, at $9.7 trillion in held wealth. Europe is home to about 25 percent and Asia 23 percent.

 Source: UBS and Wealth-X 2014 World Ultra Wealth Report

Another major trend the report forecasts is that Asian wealth will overtake Europe in 2017. Currently Asia is home to 44,505 super-wealthy individuals with a combined fortune of $6.6 trillion, and Europe’s wealth stands at $7.7 trillion, shared between 58,065 people.

Latin America is the only region in 2014 to incur a fall, down 600 individuals and $75 billion.

Eighty-seven percent of the list is men, and more than two-thirds struck it rich on their own, 13 percent by inheritance, and the rest a combination.

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to become wealth via inheritance. Almost 50 percent got rich through inheritance, and one-third was “self-made.”

The average UHNW individual spends $1 million a year on luxury goods and services, the report says.