India adding to its uber-rich list faster than the world

The annual wealth report by Knight Frank forecasts the number of Indians with assets over $50 million to rise 71 percent between 2017 and 2022

Published: Mar 7, 2018

Over a decade in financial journalism, I have specialized in covering news that matters to India Inc. and its stakeholders, including developments at India's largest corporations and and MNCs. The subject of my writing has been analysis of strategy, financial performance, M&A and fundraising activity, consumption behaviour and emerging trends in management and leadership. Industry verticals that I have written on include oil & gas, power, infra, metals & mining, auto, telecom, FMCG & retail, and start-ups. I also play the role of an editorial lead for proprietary events like the Forbes India Leadership Award and the Forbes India CEO Dialogues. An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, Chennai and Jadavpur University, Kolkata, I have worked for publications such as Mint, The Financial Express and The Indian Express before this.

g_104043_bgrts16ul1copy_280x210.jpgImage: Danish Siddiqui/ Reuters (For illustrative purposes only)

The wealthy are surely getting wealthier in India, and it appears at a faster pace than in the rest of the world.

According to The Wealth Report, an annual study brought out by international property consultant Knight Frank, the population of ultra-wealthy people (with net assets to the tune of $50 million or more) in India grew by 54 percent. This is more than the rate at which the ultra-wealthy population grew in Asia (37 percent) and around the world (18 percent) in the same period. In 2016-17 alone, the number of ultra-wealthy in India grew by 21 percent.

The rise in the uber-rich population around the world, as also in India, can be attributed to easing of the dollar and a bull run on the stock markets.

What is more significant is that the total number of ultra-wealthy in India (2,920 individuals at the end of 2017) is likely to grow at a staggering pace of 71 percent between now and 2022, as the fastest clip in the world.  

g_104045_bg_wr2018-indiapresentation(pdf)-page3_280x210.jpgKnight Frank's The Wealth Report

But though India is a bright spot in the world when it comes to addition of ultra-rich individuals, none of its cities feature among the top 20 in Knight Frank’s City Wealth Index. The only Indian city to break into the top 50 is the financial capital of Mumbai, which is ranked 47th, followed by Delhi at 73 and Chennai at 75. The Knight Frank report also estimates that Mumbai and Delhi would be among the top 10 markets in the world in terms of highest addition to households earning more than $250,000 annually between 2017 and 2022. Though Mumbai doesn’t feature among the top 20 cities in the city wealth index, it has the 16th most expensive real estate in the world, where $1 million can buy just 92 sq. metres.   

g_104047_bg_wr2018-indiapresentation(pdf)-page10_280x210.jpgKnight Frank's The Wealth Report

A statement accompanying the report, which was released on Wednesday, states that India’s wealthy population in the prime category (over $5 million in net assets) rose 21 percent (to 47,720 individuals) between 2016 and 2017, more than double the global average of 20 percent.

The report also brings to light that despite the growing wealth in the nation, real estate as an asset class remains least favoured by the super-rich, who would rather park their wealth in gold or equities. The investment allocation into property in India (at 36 percent) was lower than Asia (39 percent) and globally (43 percent).

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