In the past 25 years, the wealth of the wealthiest has increased more than tenfold, from € 850 billion to $ 8.5 billion, according to the latest edition of the study by Swiss bank UBS and consultancy PwC, which for a quarter of a century it has followed the financial lives of millionaires. The pandemic caused many people to lose their income and even their jobs, but among the wealthiest it had the opposite effect: the level of wealth reached a new peak in the first months of the Great Confinement, thanks to the stock market appreciation of actions linked to the great technological and health sector companies.
In the 2020 report (PDF in English), the trend of polarization among the ultra-rich becomes even clearer, with those who make a fortune based on technology and innovation seeing the portfolio growing fatter even faster than the rest.
The annual study of these two entities involves more than 2000 billionaires, who represent about 98% of the total wealth of the ultra-rich. Between April and July this year, this wealth increased by about 15%, exceeding the threshold of 10 billion dollars (8.5 billion euros).
But when you look at the sectors where each one has made a fortune, it turns out that billionaires linked to technology, healthcare and industry have seen their fortunes grow more than the rest, with growth rates between 36% and 44%.
Between 2018 and July 2020, the wealth of technology billionaires increased by 42.5%, to 1.5 billion euros. Those linked to health care gained 50.3% in the same period, now holding 560 billion euros.
In this polarization, “accelerated by the pandemic crisis”, says the report, the last decade has been marked by another trend: the number of ultra-rich people has doubled in the last ten years.
When looking at the globe, Asia is the region with the most rapid growth. In July, there were 389 billionaires in China, out of a total of 2189 counted worldwide.
About 200 billionaires on the planet have pledged to help fight the pandemic, donating US $ 7200 million (€ 6100 million) in cash, goods or other commitments, the report reads. In other words, about 10% of the ultra-rich donated 0.084% of the wealth of this universe of people.
The ten richest
In the list of the richest ten of 2020 produced by the magazine Forbes, the first place belongs to the Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos. The second place is Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and in third place comes Bernard Arnault, leader of the LVMH empire, owner of several brands of luxury products.
The multimillion dollar manager Warren Buffett ranks fourth, ahead of Oracle co-founder, Larry Ellison (5th), by the boss of the Inditex group, Spanish Amancio Ortega (6.º), and of Mark Zuckerberg (7th), creator of Facebook and owner of WhatsApp and Instagram. In the last places of the top 10 are three members of Walton family, considered the richest in the world, heir to the creators and owners of the Walmart distribution chain.