​Asia-Pacific to leave N.America behind as world’s richest region by 2016 – study

The skyline of the financial district is reflected in a pond in Singapore (Reuters/Edgar Su)
The Asia-Pacific region has overtaken Europe in terms of global wealth management for the first time, becoming the world’s second wealthiest region with $47 trillion says a report released by BCG. It’s on the way to overtaking North America next year.

In 2019 private wealth in the countries in the Asia-Pacific area is expected to account for one-third of global wealth, according to the report published Monday.

North America, where private wealth amounted to $51 trillion in 2014, remained the richest region in the world. According to forecasts, private wealth in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) is expected to reach $57 trillion in 2016, whereas in North America the amount of private wealth in 2016 is projected at $56 trillion.

The average growth rate of private wealth is expected to be around 6 percent per year and reach $222 trillion in 2019.

Globally private financial wealth grew by nearly 12 percent in 2014 to $164 trillion. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent, or $13 trillion) of private wealth growth was achieved through the growth of existing assets, with the remainder (27 percent, or $5 trillion) generated by newly created wealth.

The companies that manage private wealth need to decide on where to invest in order to make their business grow. For instance, onshore businesses in North America and Eastern Europe and offshore players in Switzerland plan to allocate the maximum of resources (71 percent, 63 percent and 62 percent of their investment budget, respectively) for the optimization of existing businesses rather than expanding into new sectors.

All other regions allocate slightly more than half of the resources to optimizing existing businesses, say the authors stressing three of the priorities for expanding. They include advancing the efficiency of sales (17 percent of total investment resources), improving their digital interfaces (14 percent) and boosting cooperation with other business units (10 percent).

“Of course, most wealth managers are still grappling with traditional challenges such as how to attract new assets, generate new revenues, and manage costs,” said Daniel Kessler, a BCG partner and a co-author of the report. “Newer challenges include raising digital capabilities and coping with potentially disruptive new business models. Their priorities for investing in themselves have to be clear now.”