Slideshow What advisers need to know about the mega-rich

Published
  • October 17 2016, 3:24pm EDT

More individuals are reaching billionaire status but the total wealth held by the nation's jet set is contracting.

The billionaire population grew by 1% but their total assets fell by 6% in 2015, according to Billionaire Insight, a study conducted by UBS and PWC.

Many UHNW clients are seeing their wealth shrink, especially through intergenerational transfers. In fact, the number of self-made billionaires is taking over inherited wealth, the study says. Learn more about the characteristics of today's mega-rich through our slideshow.

1% growth for the billionaires club

Assets of the nation's richest might have declined, but the number of billionaire individuals are growing. The billionaire population grew by 1% to 538 in 2015.

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The combination of age and wealth

The nation's richest hold a total of $2.47 trillion in assets. Billionaires over the age of 70 have $1.17 trillion, while their younger peers own $1.3 trillion.

What lies ahead?

A total of $2.1 trillion is in the hands of fewer than 500 people. This group is expected to transfer that wealth to heirs in the next two decades.

Young money fared better than old

The wealth of self-made billionaires fell from $4.7 billion to $4.5 billion per individual. Those who inherited their billionaire status watched their fortunes contract at a faster rate of 16%, from $5.1 billion to $4.3 billion.

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How the rich become … less rich

Business volatility accounts for over 60% of all wealth contraction among billionaires.


How effective is the great wealth transfer?

Since 1995, 70% of billionaire fortunes did not survive past the first generation. Another 20% did not remain intact past the second generation.

Where is the money?

Led by China, Asia is creating one billionaire every three days. In 2015, 113 Asian entrepreneurs attained billionaire status.