Follow the money: head east.

Where the Rich Are and Where They Will Be

Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering asset management. He previously was a Bloomberg View columnist, and prior to that the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is the author of “Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable.”
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Tucked into today's second-quarter earnings presentationfrom UBS AG is a table that acts as kind of a map of where in the world new wealth is being created. The figures suggest that any company trying to cater to the needs of the rich should be focusing on the Asia-Pacific region.

Switzerland's biggest bank manages about 1.8 trillion Swiss francs ($2 trillion) of rich people's money, split almost equally between two divisions called Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas. Assets at the Americas business increased by 3 percent from the first quarter, and by 7 percent from a year earlier. Europe, meanwhile, has been shrinking, with assets contracting by 0.7 percent, 2.5 percent and 1.6 percent respectively in the past three quarters. Asia-Pacific, though, has been growing gangbusters. A 16 percent jump in managed money in the second quarter added to growth rates of 9.2 percent and 13.3 percent in the previous three-month periods.

Here's the relevant quarter-by-quarter table for the non-Americas wealth division:

If the UBS numbers are a guide to the future, a separate study published last week shows where the old money is. Spear's and WealthInsight, which provide research and advisory services to the wealth-management industry, reckon that almost a third of the residents of Monaco are dollar millionaires when their assets, excluding their primary residences, are tallied. Zurich and Geneva are the second and third cities with the most millionaires:

The UBS report isn't a perfect guide to the world of the wealthy; the bank might be poor at holding on to clients in Europe, with an awesome sales force in Singapore and Hong Kong and Tokyo. The figures do suggest that the 7,374 employees UBS says it has in Asia-Pacific, out of more than 60,000 in total, are keeping busy. They also suggest that future city surveys are likely to both boost Singapore up the millionaire rankings, and add new entrants from Asia-Pacific into the top 10.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

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Mark Gilbert at

To contact the editor on this story:
Toby Harshaw at