Surveys

COVID-19 Hammers Billionaires, Some Escape Downdraft – Report

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 8 April 2020

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The market slump has wiped hundreds of billions from the portfolios of the world's richest men and women. A study from Asia shows that among the handful who bucked the trend, all of them were from China.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, new data from Hurun Research shows that the world’s wealthiest individuals became a lot less affluent after coronavirus-driven market selloffs wiped hundreds of billions from portfolios. But in a twist, while nearly all of the 100 richest persons were hit from 31 January to 31 March, only nine of them were not. And all nine of these people are Chinese, according to a 6 April report (MarketWatch). 

The MSCI World Index of developed countries’ shares is down by almost 20 per cent since the start of this year, having recovered slightly on some optimism that the pandemic may be flattening off in parts of the world. Central banks have also pumped money into the system to support economies during the lockdowns and restrictions imposed in many nations. 

The fact that Chinese tycoons are among the few to have dodged the selloffs is doubly ironic given that Wuhan province was where the virus is said to have originated. There have been criticisms about how Beijing took weeks to flag the problem to the rest of the world, although the country has also been praised – with caveats – for the harsh measures it enforced to contain it. 

“China has been the relative winner, with its stock markets weathering the virus better than its US and European counterparts,” Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher, is quoted as saying. 

Later this year, organisations such as Capgemini are due to issue their annual wealth management reports on the state of HNW and ultra-HNW wealth. The data issued by Capgemini will be for 2019, so unless the methodology changes readers will have to wait until 2021 to see the full extent of the damage. Here is a report on figures for 2019. 

Here is a Europe-focused report on how single family offices have been affected. The figures come from Highworth, this news service's exclusive media partner.

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