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Swiss residents world's wealthiest: bank report

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Swiss residents world's wealthiest: bank report
Graph shows rise of Swiss residents' wealth since 2000, plus the impact of currency changes. Image: Credit Suisse
08:30 CEST+02:00
Residents of Switzerland are the wealthiest in the world but the country also has one of the highest levels of inequality among developed nations, a report from Credit Suisse says.

The bank's Global Wealth Report 2015, issued on Tuesday, calculates that adults in Switzerland have an average wealth of $567,100, the highest in the world and well ahead of second placed New Zealand ($400,811).

The report is the latest in a series highlighting the extraordinary wealth accumulated on a per capita basis in the mountain country of 8.2 million people.

Last month, Allianz, the German insurer issued a report showing that average Swiss households were the richest in the world based on per capita assets, although it cited different figures.

The Credit Suisse report highlights the fact that Swiss wealth is disproportionately owned by a few at the top of the wealth pyramid.

Among ten countries with data over a long period of time, “Switzerland is alone in showing no significant reduction in wealth inequality over the past century”.

More than half of Swiss adults have assets worth more than $100,000, 11 percent of the country's adults are US-dollar millionaires and an estimated 3,800 individuals are ultra-high-net-worth individuals with wealth over $50 million, the report says.

Around 1,500 have net worth exceeding $100 million.

“Switzerland accounts for 1.7 percent of the top one percent of global wealth holders, remarkable for a country with just 0.1 percent of the world's population,” the report from Switzerland's second largest bank says.

The authors of the report calculated wealth based on financial assets plus real estate owned by households less their debts. 

Global wealth dropped slightly to $250 trillion due to the impact of the relatively strong dollar on other currencies but inequality continued to widen in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the report says.

The top one percent of wealth holders now own just over half of the world's wealth and the richest ten percent own 87.7 percent, according to its findings. 

The US, another country with massive disparities in riches, "will remain the undisputed leader in terms of wealth, holding nearly a third of the global total".

But emerging economies are likely to see their share of the pie rise to 19 percent by 2020 from 17 percent with both China and India expected to post annual growth rates of nine percent in the next five years.

Find out more information about the report here.        

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