Personal Finance

Fewer billionaires in India this year

Arvind Jayaram | Updated on November 25, 2017 Published on October 12, 2014

Mumbai ranks fourth among the Top 10 Asian cities

India has the sixth-largest population of billionaires worldwide, but the number of ultra-wealthy individuals that fit into this bracket witnessed a dip in 2014. According to the new Billionaires Census 2014 by wealth research and advisory firm Wealth-X and financial services provider UBS, the number of billionaires in India fell by 2.9 per cent to 100 in 2014 from 103 in 2013.

What’s more, the combined wealth of the Indian billionaires club fell from $180 billion to $175 billion.

India is preceded in the Top 10 rankings by the US, China, the UK, Germany and Russia, but has more billionaires than Switzerland, Hong Kong, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. However, the combined net worth of the Indian billionaires’ pool is less than the combined wealth of the billionaires in any of the other countries in the Top 10.

The city of Mumbai, in particular, has a strong concentration of billionaires, with 28 Indian magnates living there, making it one of the Top 20 cities of the world in terms of its billionaire population.

While it is 11{+t}{+h} in the list of billionaire cities worldwide, Mumbai figures at the fourth position among the top 10 Asian billionaire cities, behind Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore, but ahead of Tokyo, Shenzhen and Shanghai.

Mumbai has one other distinction to its name in the report: the University of Mumbai is the sole Asian institute of higher education to feature in a list of top universities worldwide on the basis of its billionaire undergraduate alumnus. Indeed, with 12 billionaires earning their bachelor’s degree from the University of Mumbai, the esteemed institute has produced more billionaires than the London School of Economics and Political Science, Lomonsov Moscow State University, or the University of Texas. Nevertheless, the US takes the cake of hosting 16 out of the 20 most popular schools for billionaires worldwide.

Despite the dip in the number of Indian billionaires, the world population of uber-rich grew in 2014. What’s more, their wealth has grown at an even faster clip.

The billionaire census for 2014 says the world’s population of mega-rich grew by over 7 per cent to 2,325 in 2014 from 2013 levels, but the combined wealth of the billionaires’ club increased by 12 per cent to $7.3 trillion.

Rich women

Out of the billionaires’ population, 2,039 were male and 286 female. The number of male billionaires grew by 7.9 per cent in 2014, faster than the total billionaire fortune.

The world’s women billionaires, though they account for only 12.3 per cent of the billionaires’ population, enjoy a 12.8 per cent share of the wealth. Over 65 per cent of these fabulously rich women inherited their wealth, while 17.1 per cent are self-made.

Finance, banking and investment are the careers of choice for most billionaires, with 19.3 per cent of them making their fortunes in these segments, followed by industrial conglomerates, real estate, non-profit and social organisations and textiles, apparel and luxury goods. But the typical billionaire is actively engaged in two businesses and is active on the boards of three clubs, organisations or institutions.

Nevertheless, the largest share of their wealth is often in their primary business. Sixty three per cent of billionaires’ primary businesses are private companies, compared to only 31 per cent that are public companies and 6 per cent that are other types of institutions.

This preference for private ownership is indicative of their active participation in guiding the strategy of their primary business, according to the report.

Wealth make-up

As for their wealth, it varies depending on the type of business they operate. In case of billionaires with privately-held primary businesses, 20 per cent is cash, 6 per cent is parked in real estate and luxury assets, 12 per cent in public holdings and 62 per cent in private holdings.

On the other hand, if their main occupation is publicly-held primary business, 16 per cent of their wealth is in cash, 4 per cent in real estate and luxury assets.

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