Swiss households remain world's richest

The Local
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Swiss households remain world's richest
Photo: AFP

Average Swiss households remain the richest in the world, although inequality is rising in Switzerland, according to Allianz’s Global Wealth report for 2015.


The report from the German insurer, released on Tuesday, put per capita assets in Switzerland at €157,450 ($176,736) after deductions for debt at the end of 2014, well ahead of the second-ranked United States (€138,710).

The UK ranked third at €86,230, up from 10th place in last year’s ranking and ahead of Belgium (€84,770), Sweden (€82,920) and the Netherlands (€78,060).

Kazakhstan ranked the poorest country in the world, among the countries surveyed (which excluded those from Africa), with net per capita assets of €406.

Cash-strapped Greece had an average net household income of €11,645, the lowest in Western Europe.

Switzerland also recorded the highest average debt burden of €80,860, up 3.6 percent from the previous year, compared to an average debt level of €25,160 across Western Europe.

The study said North America remains the richest region in the planet with just under 45 percent of the world’s gross financial assets, compared to 23.5 percent for Western Europe.

But the report highlighted the growing inequality in the USA, which it dubbed the “Unequal States of America” because the concentration of wealth has grown faster there than anywhere else in the world.

It also pointed to inequality growing more quickly in the wealthiest countries of Europe — including Switzerland — than in the poorer ones.

Overall, the Allianz report said the world's household assets were worth €136 trillion euros at the end of 2014, up seven percent from the previous year and enough to settle the world’s sovereign debt roughly three times over.

The increase was “fueled increasingly be efforts taken by households to step up their savings efforts,” Oliver Bäte, Allianz chairman, said in a preface to the report.

This was in part due to the fact that individuals were being asked to “make more provisions for his or her future” rather than an excessive surge in assets, Bäte indicated.

“The high total amount of the personal financial assets should not distract us from the fact that these assets remain very unevenly distributed,” he said.

The poorer half of the population holds only around five percent of the assets in the countries surveyed, Bäte said, suggesting that every second person has meagre reserves to fall back on in old age.

For the full report, check here.


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