Billionaire wealth drops for the first time in a decade

Joe Stadler head of UBS ultra-high net worth unit

Joe Stadler head of UBS ultra-high net worth unit

The Americas were the only region where billionaires retained their wealth due to the increased wealth of US tech entrepreneurs, the report said. About half of that decline is due to a depreciation in the Chinese yuan against the US dollar, according to the report. The billionaire-controlled companies were also more profitable.

"Self-made female billionaires contributed more to wealth creation, as their wealth surged by 131 percent from 2013 to past year, while wealth among their multi-generational peers or heiresses increased by 14 percent in the same period", the report said.

Billionaires' wealth fell by $388 billion globally to $8.539 trillion, the U.S.PwC Billionaires Chronicle found, with a in particular engrossing decline in Bigger China- the second-finest home for billionaires after the US- and the Asia-Pacific trouble more broadly.

The report said there were 2,101 billionaires at the end of 2018.

The world lost 57 billionaires previous year as economic woes and the unexpected strengthening of the United States dollar wiped $388 billion (CHF386 billion) from their combined wealth.

Taiwanese billionaires' wealth mainly comes from the real-estate, materials, and consumer and retail industries, due to the nation's social-economic environment and policies, PwC Taiwan financial services leader Richard Watanabe (吳偉臺) said at the conference. The report chalks the "billionaire effect" up to personality traits such as smart risk-taking, far-sightedness, as well as a focus on business and determination. "You look at Revolut and Monzo and the newly developed systems and this will fuel new billionaires or at least millionaires", said Marcel Tschanz, Swiss head of wealth management at PWC, at the event. Worldwide, the variety of billionaires fell in all places besides within the Americas, the place tech entrepreneurs continued to buoy the ranks of the US' wealthiest. In that period, the number of ultra-rich women increased by 46 percent, from 160 to 233.

The report comes amid increased anti-Wall Street and anti-billionaire rhetoric from Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren - who've both called for a tax to be imposed on the wealthiest Americans - and pushback from the wealthy. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, has said that "in a fair society there would be no billionaires".

The UBS banker acknowledged that wealth has become concentrated in fewer hands, but he said that concerns about inequality need to be balanced against what billionaires have achieved.

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