Wanna be super rich in SA? Study law and finance

The fastest growing sectors generating super rich in South Africa over the past 10 years were financial and professional services, according to a new report by AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth.

Financial services include banks, fund managers, wealth managers and professional services include law firms and consultancies.

About 26.8% of South Africa's 43 600 super rich made their money in the financial and professional services industry, according to the report.

It defines high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) as those with wealth of $1m (about R12.6m) or more. "Wealth" refers to the net assets of a person. It includes all their assets - property, cash, equities, business interests - less any liabilities.

The next biggest source of wealth for SA's super rich, according to the report, is real estate and construction (19.7%), followed by technology and telecommunication (8.9%) and basic materials (8.3%).

The average age of SA's super rich is 57 years and 34% are older than 60.

A high proportion of SA's HNWIs studied law. The report states that this does not necessarily mean that they are lawyers, because most of the HNWIs in SA with law degrees are business owners and directors of major companies.

The report found that among SA's super rich about 28% have an LLB or LLM as the last degree obtained; followed by a finance and economics degree (21%); accounting (12%); computer sciences (6%); medicine (4%); engineering (4%) and actuarial (3%).

Most HNWIs in SA obtained their last degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand (22%); followed by the University of Cape Town (19%); Stellenbosch University (12%); University of South Africa (10%); University of Pretoria (6%); Rhodes University (5%); Rand Afrikaans University/University of Johannesburg (4%); US universities like Harvard, Yale or MIT (4%) and UK universities like Oxford or Cambridge (3%).

It seems most HNWIs in SA have the title of director (40%); followed by managing director (16%); CEO (11%); chair (9%); partner (8%); chief financial officer (3%); and financial director (3%).

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