Hong Kong Had Fastest Growth in Millionaires

Hong Kong posted the fastest pace of growth globally in the number of new millionaires for the second consecutive year in 2010, Capgemini SA and Bank of America Corp. said in a joint report.

The number of high net worth individuals in Hong Kong climbed 33 percent to 101,300, and their wealth expanded 35 percent to $511 billion, according to the Asia-Pacific Wealth Report distributed in Hong Kong today. China’s population of millionaires grew 12 percent to 535,000 and accounted for $2.7 trillion in wealth, it said.

The gains helped drive up asset prices, with Singapore and Hong Kong posting the biggest increases in property prices last year, Bank of America’s Alistair Scarff said. Asia’s wealth growth may slow this year as the world economic recovery falters, curtailing further gains in asset values, the banks said.

“We expect the growth rate in Asia to moderate in 2011 because of a number of factors,” Wilson So, head of North Asia advisory for Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management unit, told reporters. “The key factor is the monetary stimulus that central banks around the world have put in place will be withdrawn.”

Japan kept its ranking as home to the most millionaires and the greatest amount of wealth in 2010, according to the report. The nation had 1.74 million high net worth individuals, accounting for more than half of the region’s millionaires, with $4.14 trillion in wealth, or 38 percent of Asia’s total.

Hong Kong’s residential property prices may rise 5 percent this year and then “moderate” in 2012 because of the global rout in equities and Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, said Scarff, who is Bank of America’s head of financial institutions equity research for Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan.

High net worth individuals have at least $1 million in investable assets excluding primary residences and collectibles, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Tong in Hong Kong at stong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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