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  • 10 July 2019 14:07

Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2019: with a loss of 2 trillion USD, High Net Worth Individual wealth declines after seven consecutive years of growth but HNWI’s trust and satisfaction in wealth managers and firms remain high

• 3% global decrease in HNWI wealth driven by slump in equity markets and slowing regional economies with Asia-Pacific, and especially China, worst affected by accounting for 25% of the global market decline in 2018 • Ultra-HNWIs were the most affected and accounted for 75% of the overall HNWI wealth decline • As wealth industry evolves and HNWI expectations shift, key opportunities exist for wealth management firms to better meet rising client expectations around personalised offerings, service quality and fee transparency

Australia, July 10, 2019 – The World Wealth Report 2019 (WWR), published today by Capgemini, found that after seven years of continuous growth, overall global high net worth individual (HNWI) wealth declined by 3% in 2018. Largely due to a drop in wealth in the Asia-Pacific region (specifically China), this decline has resulted in a loss of 2 trillion USD worldwide. Despite this, wealth management firms maintained stable levels of customer trust and satisfaction throughout the year, though better personal relationships are still key for enhanced performance of firms which can be achieved through effective utilisation of next-gen technologies.

Key findings of the report include:

Asia-Pacific leads global wealth decline, while Middle East wealth grew The global HNWI population and wealth declined by 0.3% and 3% respectively, with Asia-Pacific hit the hardest. The region represented US$1 trillion of the global decline in wealth, as the HNWI population decreased by 2% and HNWI wealth by 5%. China alone was responsible for more than half (53%) of Asia-Pacific and more than 25% of global HNWI wealth loss. In Australia, the HNWI population decreased from 278,000 to 266,000, as decrease of 4.32%.

“Whilst for the first time in seven years we are reporting decline in high net worth wealth globally, with the Asia Pacific region and China in particular contributing substantially to declines across the 2018 reporting period, Australian equity markets look to have rebounded in recent times, giving cause for quiet optimism,” says Philip Gomm, Head of Banking, Capgemini Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, HNWI wealth declined across nearly all other regions: Latin America declined by 4%, Europe by 3% and North America by 1%. However, the Middle East bucked the trend, generating 4% growth in HNWI wealth and increasing its HNWI population by 6% due to strong GDP growth and financial market performance. Similar to the previous year, the markets with the largest HNWI populations - the United States, Japan, Germany, and China - represented 61% of the total global HNWI population.

Ultra-HNWIs record the greatest financial loss The ultra-HNWI population declined by 4%, and their wealth declined by around 6%. This accounted for 75% of the total global wealth decrease. Mid-tier millionaires (HNWIs between US$5-30 million of wealth) made up 20% of the total decline. The millionaire-next-door segment (which represents HNWIs between US$1-5 million of wealth and makes up almost 90% of the HNWI population) was affected the least in 2018, as their wealth dipped by less than 0.5%, signifying that nearly all declines in HNWI wealth and population were driven by the higher wealth (ultra-HNWI and mid-tier millionaire) segments. Cash tops equities as most held asset class Asset allocations shifted significantly, as cash replaced equities to become the most held asset class in Q1 2019, representing 28% of HNWI financial wealth, while equities slipped to the second position at nearly 26% (a decline of 5 percentage points). Volatile equity market conditions spurred a slight increase in allocation towards alternative investments to 13%, a 4 percentage point increase from the previous year.

Trust levels remained stable but wealth managers must evolve the client experience Despite declining wealth, HNWI’s year-over-year trust and satisfaction in wealth management firms increased by 3 percentage points over already high levels. However, the report revealed significant opportunity for wealth firms to proactively address rising HNWI expectations, as an unsatisfactory service experience was the biggest reason for HNWIs to switch firms in 2018. BigTechs are expected to be one of the greatest industry disrupters due to their digital capabilities, particularly as fewer than 50% of HNWI clients said they were satisfied with current mobile and online platforms, and 85% demanded more digital interaction when accessing portfolio information. At the same time, only 62% of HNWIs said they are comfortable with their primary wealth manager’s fees, with many demanding more personalised offerings that focus on greater value creation.

According to the report, investment in next-gen technologies will be critical in order to enhance the client experience. While there is consensus among firm executives and wealth managers that AI is a key game-changer, only 5% of surveyed firms said they had implemented AI strategies across all core areas. To support sustainable growth within this disruptive environment, firms must pursue the three key strategies of bridging value gaps for wealth managers and clients, redefining IT strategy and leveraging the integrated ecosystem.

“While the volatile economic environment of 2018 led to HNWI wealth decline globally, wealth managers have been extremely successful in maintaining strong levels of client trust,” said Anirban Bose, CEO of Capgemini’s Financial Services and Member of the Group Executive Board. “However, future success will depend on the agility of wealth management firms to evolve the client experience and find new ways to add value through more personalised services. Next-gen technology and closing expectation gaps will aid this, but the landscape is shifting so quickly that companies must not be afraid to overhaul their strategy and business models if needed.”

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