Europe’s wealthy are falling behind – London just dropped out of the top 10 cities for very high net worth individuals

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A new report looks at where the very high net worth – between $5 million to $30 million – live.
London fell out of Wealth-X’s top 10 ranking for the first time dating back to 2004.
The US dominated the ranking, with seven cities in the top 10 including the top spot – New York.
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London is no longer a top-10 hub for very high net worth (VHNW) individuals.
In fact, the city’s share of VHNW individuals dropped by 16% in 2020, according to a Wealth-X’s second edition of the Very High Net Worth Handbook, which classifies VHNWs as having net worth between $5 million and $30 million.
London was knocked out of eighth place to 12th – the first time that London has been out of the top 10 since Wealth-X records dating back to 2004.
The report cites a few different factors for London’s fall down the ranks, including damages from Brexit, general pandemic economic conditions, and "poorly performing" equity markets. All was compounded by much stronger showings for the VHNW in the US and Asia.
As Insider’s Harry Robertson reported, the UK’s economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020 – the worst contraction on record as the UK fared the worst of the G7. The UK has also been particularly hard hit by the virus.
"The third major wealth region of Europe significantly underperformed its global peers, with the VHNW population declining by 7% to 623,880 individuals," the report said.
Meanwhile, New York remained in first place, showing that a different story was unraveling across the pond. In fact, US cities represent the vast majority of the top 10 for the VHNW, with seven cities making the list. New York is holding fast to number one, and all of the US cities represented saw their VHNW populations grow.
The wealthiest Americans also saw substantial growth in 2020, with America’s billionaires adding $1.62 trillion to their wealth over the last 13 months.
On the whole, the VHNW population grew by 1.3%, amounting to a total of around 2.7 million. That’s a much smaller gain than prior years, but Wealth-X predicts a robust recovery and 1 million more VHNW individuals by 2025. Even still, the VHNW population’s total wealth rose by 1.2% to a total of $26.8 trillion.
On the other hand, a recent report from the Pew Research Center found 54 million people fell out of the global middle class, classified as those who earn about $14,600 to $29,200 a year, meaning they live on around $10 to $20 a day. A January report from Oxfam estimated that not only did 200 million to 500 million potentially fall into poverty in 2020 – it could also take a decade for the bottom to recover.
London’s drop on the VHNW list is another potential signal of its uncertain future as a financial hub, and as a home for the wealthy. In March, London saw drops in the Global Financial Centres Index, which ranks how competitive different finance hubs are. While it’s still the second top financial center, it fell over 10 points and barely ranks above Shanghai.
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