Billionaires Insights 2017

New value creators gain momentum

Billionaires are powering the economy and leveraging networks to reach new heights in arts and sports, and have a greater positive impact on society via impact investing.

What a difference a year makes. In last year’s report, PwC and UBS asked the question ‘Are billionaires feeling the pressure?’ as billionaire wealth dropped.

This year there has been a dramatic return to growth. Billionaire wealth has risen 17% in 2016, more than double the rate of the MSCI World Index. Despite a period of heightened geopolitical uncertainty, the world’s ultra-wealthy are flourishing.

In this report the drivers behind this growth and some emerging trends are explored. There are startling figures: for the first time in history there are now more billionaires in Asia than in the US, while this year’s 145 new billionaires are responsible for adding 2.8 million jobs to the world economy. We uncover the increasingly powerful role played by networks: more and more families are working together on new ventures and younger entrepreneurs are tapping into a broader group of contacts to orchestrate deals.

PwC and UBS also shine a spotlight on the growing role billionaires play in art and sport. They are more active than ever, often motivated by a strong sense of social responsibility. Billionaires have made over half of sports club acquisitions in the last two years, while a new generation of art patrons is making new and unique
collections more accessible to the public. As one of the billionaires we spoke to put it “In today’s world, art can express many things which you cannot do by other means.”

Billionaires are enjoying resurgent growth and creating new legacies, driven by a shift in the geography of global influence. Many more such shifts in the future can be expected, as Asia, and in particular China, continues to grow in stature. PwC and UBS look forward to charting these developments in the years to come.

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Contact us

Dr. Marcel Widrig
Global Private Wealth Leader, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 792 44 50
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Thomas Holly
US Asset & Wealth Management Leader, PwC US
Tel: +1 (410) 215 0627
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Olwyn Alexander
Global Asset & Wealth Management Leader, PwC Ireland
Tel: +353 (0) 1 7928719
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Andrew Hogan
UK Private Banking and Wealth Management Leader, PwC UK
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7804 5508
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Justin Ong
Asia-Pacific Asset & Wealth Management Leader, PwC Singapore
Tel: +65 6236 3708
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Marcel Tschanz
Partner Advisory
Tel: +41 58 792 20 87
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