Asia Set To Overtake North America As Richest Region

The rapid economic growth in Asia over the last couple of decades is about to create a sea change. Total wealth in Asia surpassed that in Europe a few years ago, and according to a report from the Boston Consulting Group, Asian wealth will soon overtake that of North America as well.

More on BCG report and wealth growth in Asia

Global wealth grew by a solid 11.9% in 2014, very close to the 12.3% growth seen from 2012 to 2013, but regions of the world saw very different rates of growth.

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For example, wealth in North America increased 5.6% to $50.8 trillion, making it the wealthiest region, but wealth in the Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan) region exploded at a rate of 29.4% to $47.3 trillion. (Of note, wealth in Japan was up by 2.5% in 2014.)

Asia vs North America

The BCG report highlights that Asia-Pacific will surpass North America as the wealthiest continent sometime next year, with China and India representing the main drivers. The region is anticipated to generate more than half of the global wealth growth through 2019.

Asia also continues to see the largest share of its investments (up to 45%) in cash and deposits. Keep in mind the savings rate in India was 19% of GDP and 17.4% of GDP in China. The Asia-Pacific region had an overall savings rate of around 6%.

The  report also emphasizes that global wealth creation was stronger in emerging economies, with these developing economies representing just over 65% of the new wealth creation in 2014, compared to around 33% in the U.S. and Europe.

Asia vs North America

Statements from BCG partners

“You clearly also see a two-speed world again this year with some of the economies — the new world regions — growing much, much faster than other regions overall,” noted BCG partner Daniel Kessler at a presser in the Big Apple on Monday.

“Even though it’s decreasing in terms of percentage of AUM, [North America] is still the largest and most developed wealth market in the world,” commented senior partner Bruce Holley.

Federico Burgoni, a BCG partner focusing on Asia-Pacific, was blunt in his assessment: “I may be biased, but when it comes to wealth, I truly believe Asia is the place to be.”