In terms of investment, Bruce pointed out that Asian investors are very conservative and that the market lacks family offices. China has, however, a very competitive private banking sector, which is struggling to keep up with the pace of wealth creation. Bruce also said that wealthy individuals in Hong Kong and Singapore often hire several wealth managers and private banks to split up their wealth.
Billionaires in Russia, with virtually no family involvement, and India, with the highest percentage of family-run fortunes with nearly three-quarters, are beginning to diversify and spread their assets around the world. For example, many Russian billionaires buy property in New York and London.
Technology: a game-changer
Technology is in many ways changing the landscape of billionaires and ultra high net worth individuals around the world: “Technology is a key driver of wealth throughout the world, and the entrepreneurs there tend to be very young and single so they have not got the family connection yet,” Bruce said. “As technologists they are often engineers and their skills are very specific, so their brother-in-law or cousin does not necessarily have the same skills.”
The emergence of technology wealth is also having a strong impact on philanthropy, as technology executives give billions to charity and run their foundations in the same way as their firms: “Bill Gates seems to have an obligation personally for philanthropy, which is unique in the industry,” Bruce said.