Cape Town - Last year was a particularly bad year for SA millionaires, according to the latest South Africa 2016 Wealth Report by New World Wealth.
The number of these so-called high net worth Individuals (HNWI) declined by 18% during 2015 - from 46 800 at the end of 2014 to 38 500 at the end of 2015. HNWIs are defined as people with net assets of $1m (about R15m) or more. For the purposes of the report, local HNWIs included all individuals living or working in SA, including expats.
According to Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, the decline in numbers was mainly due to poor economic conditions in South Africa. The rand depreciated by 25% against the dollar and the JSE was down 22% in dollar terms during the year. A significant number of HNWIs also left the country.
Based on its 2015 migration survey, New World Wealth estimates that SA lost just over 950 millionaires to emigration in 2015. Of the ones that left, 36% went to the UK, 15% to Australia, 11% to the US, 8% to Canada, 5% to Mauritius and 4% to Israel.
According to the survey, the top reasons for HNWIs leaving SA are financial concerns; the inability to deal with changing social dynamics in SA; concerns for their children’s future, including education; crime; BEE requirements; and concerns that someone in the family might contract HIV/Aids.