Face of SA’s ultra wealthy

2012-09-01 15:16

High-net-worth individuals’ wealth totals $1 million or more, including a range of assets

Meet the new South African multimillionaire.

He’s a black South African man, in his mid-50s, and the secret to his wealth is involvement in lucrative Black Economic Empowerment deals.

His biggest asset is real estate but he’s got plenty of irons in the fire: equities, cold hard cash, art, classic cars and private jets.

He probably lives in Sandhurst, South Africa’s wealthiest suburb or, if he prefers the Western Cape, he’s got a swanky pad on the V&A Waterfront.

These are some of the insights revealed in a new study by British research house WealthInsight, titled South Africa – The Future of HNWIs to 2016: the Rise of African Wealth.

The “HNWI” is what WealthInsight calls a high-net-worth individual – in layman’s terms, someone whose wealth totals $1 million or more, including equities, bonds, cash, real estate and business interests.

WealthInsight’s senior analyst and head of its report team, Andrew ­Amoils, said the company has a database of more than 100 000 millionaires worldwide – 600 of them in South Africa.

“Most of the people on our list are multimillionaires – with wealth of more than $30 million,” Amoils said.

Multimillionaires are referred to in WealthInsight’s lingo as UHNWIs: ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

“We have the personal addresses and wealth for these individuals, which we use to work out the wealth and number of multimillionaires in each area,” ­Amoils said.

This was used to generate the report and a paper released last week, called Far from Equal: Previously Disadvantaged Wealth Trends in South Africa.

According to this, previously disadvantaged groups – defined in the study as black Africans, coloured people,
Indians and Chinese people – accounted for only 14% of the country’s ­UHNWIs at the end of last year.

WealthInsight found there were 75 South African UHNWIs from these groups, and 543 UHNWIs in total.

“This is a relatively low percentage considering that these groups make up 90% of the national population,” ­Amoils and his team reported.

But this group is growing quickly – mostly, researchers found, because of emerging BEE deals.

Other factors boosting the private wealth of South Africa’s high rollers included the strong local property market and the comparatively good performance of the JSE all-share index against other indices in dollar terms.

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