Belgium counted 130,000 millionaires among its population in 2019, 8.5% more than in 2018, according to a report published by consultancy Capgemini.
The report defines a millionaire as anyone who possesses a minimum of one million US dollars in investable assets, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables. $1 million is about €882,000.
The total wealth of Belgium’s millionaires – known in the jargon as High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) came to €332 billion, an increase of 8.7%. That gives an average of $2.5 million per millionaire.
Over both the short- and the long-term, the wealth of the rich is growing faster than their numbers. From 2012 to 2019, the number of HNWIs grew by 60%, while their total wealth grew by just over 62%.
Launching the report in Belgium, Robert van der Eijk, managing director of Capgemini Invent Belux, said that 28% of the wealth of this country’s rich is in cash. Shares account for 20%, fixed income 17% and property 16%, with 18% in alternative investments of various sorts.
The growth of 8.5% in the number of millionaires in Belgium almost exactly tracks global growth of 9%. Worldwide, the US and Europe led the growth, overtaking the Asia-Pacific region for the first time since 2012.
However growth looks to be over for the time being. The figures presented refer to 2019, so the effect of the coronavirus pandemic do not show up. Capgemini estimates, however, that the wealth of HNWIs will have fallen by 6% to 8% in the first months of this year to April.
The report also points to an evolution in the type of wealth held by the very rich.
The number of those interested in investments in sustainable sectors is now 27% overall, but more among those under the age of 40 (41%) and those with assets of $30 million or more (40%). By contrast, among those with less than $5 million the figure is only 17%.
However the motives of these investors are not necessarily altruistic. While 26% said they were motivated by a desire to contribute to society, 39% were attracted by higher returns, and 33% by lower risks.
The World Wealth Report 2020 is based on data from 71 countries representing 98% of world GDP and 99% of all stock market capitalisation. More than 2,500 HNWIs were interviewed in January and February of this year.