SOUTH Africa’s base of dollar millionaires is growing at a snail’s pace.
Last year, the number of Mozambican millionaires grew 8% annually — admittedly from a low base. South Africa’s increased 3%.
Mozambique has 900millionaires, and in South Africa there are an estimated 50 000, according to Sheldon Halcrow, wealth manager at Nedbank Private Wealth.
A high net worth individual is someone who has more than $1-million (R11-million) in investable assets, excluding his or her primary residence.
There are 10.9-million-dollar millionaires, of which 165 000 live in Africa. A third of Africa’s wealthiest reside in South Africa.
But South Africa, with high levels of crime and poverty, is failing to attract the world’s wandering wealthy. A report by New World Wealth revealed the UK was the top destination for migrating millionaires between 2003 and 2013. The UK had a net inflow of 114 100 millionaires. Singapore ranked second with 45 000, followed by the US, to where 42 400 millionaires relocated. Most millionaires are migrating from China.
According to Boston Consulting Group’s Global Wealth Survey 2014, the world’s wealth grew by 15% to $152-trillion last year, led by countries in the Asia-Pacific region — excluding Japan. Wealth growth in this region surged by 31% to $37-trillion .
In the past 20 years the image of South African millionaires had evolved from being exclusively white, Halcrow said. They are younger, with an average age of 45, and include women. They spend on high-end cars, watches, boats and luxury collectables such as art.
South African millionaires used to be concerned about hiding their “stash” in other countries, fearing South Africa might implode, but now they are having a global discussion with wealth managers and are more interested in diversification and investing in other markets.
• This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times