Billionaires Insights: Are billionaires feeling the pressure?

We estimate that fewer than 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs over the next 20 years. UBS and PwC explore the potential impact of this massive handover and examine how the values of the millennials differ from their parents and how this will fundamentally alter the structure and use of that inherited wealth.

Billionaires Insights: Are Billionaires feeling the pressure

With many billionaires over 70, significant dilution of billionaire fortunes lies ahead. We will see a huge handover of wealth to their heirs, many of whom will be millennials whose primary interests may lie outside the family business. There will also be continued volatility of wealth for business reasons. Without careful planning, many of today’s fortunes will suffer substantial erosion. In the years to come, the whole of society will benefit from this age of great wealth creation. All over the world, this generation of billionaires, and their idealistic heirs, are committing wealth to philanthropy on a greater scale than ever.

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Are Billionaires feeling the pressure


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Key findings:

  • Total billionaire wealth declined by USD 300 billion to USD 5.1 trillion while average billionaire wealth fell from USD 4.0 billion to USD 3.7 billion due to headwinds such as the transfer of assets within families, commodity price deflation and an appreciating US dollar
  • Europe has the greatest number of multigenerational billionaires at 182 (54%), and they have proven to be the most resilient at preserving their fortunes. The US has 175 (33%) multi-generational billionaires and APAC has 76 (15%)
  • For the first time in 10 years, the average wealth of self-made US billionaires surpassing the average wealth of US billionaires with inherited fortunes (USD 4.5 billion vs USD 4.3 billion).
  • Led by China, Asia created one billionaire nearly every three days accounting for over half of new billionaires in 2015
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Billionaires Insights: Master architects of great wealth and lasting legacies

In 2015, UBS and PwC launched the Billionaires report, "Billionaires: Master architects of great wealth and lasting legacies," revealing that entrepreneurship is a strong driver of wealth creation globally and that [most] billionaires are looking to philanthropy to establish their legacy. The survey of 1,300 billionaires analyses data from the last 19 years across the 14 largest billionaire markets, accounting for 75% of global billionaire wealth. The report examined the differences between billionaires’ wealth creation, preservation and philanthropic practices across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Find out more about the report 

Billionaires: Master architects of great wealth and lasting legacies


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The Changing faces of Billionaires


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Billionaires Insights: The changing faces of billionaires

Deep diving into the findings of the original Billionaires report, which analysed wealth creation, preservation and philanthropy, this second report, Billionaires: The changing faces of billionaires, takes a closer look at today’s billionaire population. Over the last two decades, global GDP has almost tripled from $30 trillion to over $77 trillion. But the wealth of billionaires in our study has increased almost eightfold, from $0.7 trillion in 1995 to $5.4 trillion in 2014. Over this time period, female billionaires have outpaced their male peers, with their ranks and wealth growing at faster rates.

Find out more about the report 

Contact us

Thomas Holly

US Asset & Wealth Management Leader, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (410) 215 0627

Dr. Marcel Widrig

Global Private Wealth Leader, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 44 50

Lara De Vido

Financial Services Marketing, Senior Manager, PwC United States

Tel: +1-646-313-3635

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