KUALA LUMPUR (NST) – Malaysia has more than 26,000 High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) or millionaires, according to WealthInsight.
It stated that the wealth of HNWIs stood at RM527 billion (US$151 billion).
Kuala Lumpur had the most number of HNWIs at 13,800 last year, more than Abu Dhabi (12,500), Cape Town (8,753) and Birmingham (8,736).
The number of millionaires in Malaysia is expected to reach 30,054 by 2018.
The increase in the number of Malaysian billionaires is also high.
Malaysian billionaires have 209 per cent more wealth than the entire millionaire population of Paraguay.
A total of 54.1 per cent of Malaysian HNWIs’ foreign wealth is invested in Asia-Pacific countries, compared with 46.8 per cent of Indonesian HNWIs’ foreign wealth.
The information is based on WealthInsight’s report “Millionaires in Malaysia: 26,000 and counting” published this month.
The WealthInsight Intelligence Centre database is the leading resource of its kind.
Compiled and curated by a team of expert research specialists, the database comprises dossiers on more than 110,000 HNWIs from around the world.
The WealthInsight Intelligence Centre database includes tracking of wealth and liquidity events as they happened and detailed profiles of major private banks, wealth managers and family offices in each market.
WealthInsight said Malaysian wealth grew at a remarkable rate of 59.6 per cent between 2009 and last year, and was expected to increase by 28 per cent to reach RM908 billion in 2018.
WealthInsight analyst Tom Carlisle said: “Since becoming an Islamic banking hub, Malaysia has seen a surge in investments, increasing by 52.6 per cent since 2008 to RM40.5 billion.
“Malaysia’s overall wealth is similar to countries like Argentina (RM558 billion), Colombia (RM537 billion) and Indonesia (RM718 billion). With a population of 28 million, Malaysia has a similar number of millionaires than more densely populated countries like Indonesia, whose population stands at 237.6 million.
“This demonstrates the big potential for billionaire growth in Malaysia.”
The Malaysian economy performed well during the financial crisis, resulting in the amount of HNWIs rising by 45.5 per cent between 2009 and last year to 26,015.
“Growth like this is hard to maintain, but the rising level of wealth and investment in Malaysia and neighbouring countries means further growth will be seen,” said Carlisle.
“Malaysian HNWIs are investing 54.1 per cent of their overseas portfolio in the Asia-Pacific.”