World’s wealthy are getting poorer

By Melissa Shin | June 19, 2012 | Last updated on December 5, 2023
1 min read

There are a few more wealthy people in the world, but overall, they have less money.

So finds the World Wealth Report 2012, unveiled today by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management.

The number of global wealthy, 11 million, increased by 0.8% from 2010 to 2011, with populations rising everywhere except North America.

Canada population of wealthy people contracted from 282,000 in 2010 to 279,900 in 2011.

Read: Canada’s top 1%: It may not be you

Yet overall wealth decreased 1.7% from 2010 to 2011 to $42 trillion, the second decrease in four years. It’s the first time in the report’s 16-year history that population has risen while wealth has fallen.

Read: Keep your wealthy clients

The drop is due to worldwide equity market volatility, particularly in the Eurozone, and increasing investor preference toward safe-haven assets like cash and fixed income.

Market cap worldwide also fell 19% from 2010 to 2011 due to increased investor risk aversion.

The news isn’t all bad, however. The worldwide entry-level wealthy segment – $1 million to $5 million – grew both in population and wealth.

And for these lucky clients, especially those looking to veer away from traditional, risky investments, there are many atypical assets to consider:

Go ahead, buy a private island

The many facets of jewelry investing

Art adds beauty to the portfolio

And for those Euro Cup and sports fans: Should your client buy a sports franchise?

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Melissa Shin

Melissa is the editorial director of and leads Newcom Media Inc.’s group of financial publications. She has been with the team since 2011 and been recognized by PMAC and CFA Society Toronto for her reporting. Reach her at You may also call or text 416-847-8038 to provide a confidential tip.