This report has highlighted the divergence of opinion around the world on what the next decade will mean for wealth and wealth creation. The progress of emerging markets, and their increasing influence on the global economy, is reflected on a local level in an optimistic outlook for the coming decade, whereas the majority of developed economies are cautious regarding the global economy’s prospects for growth.
Residents of the United States, please read this important information before proceeding
What this tells us is that the global outlook of individual investors is heavily skewed by their experiences within their own local market. Overall, the wealthy tend to be more pessimistic than professional economists about global economic prospects, and they may have good reason for this, as the escalating burden of public debt will make it more difficult for policymakers to keep the global recovery on the road, as evidenced by recent events in Greece.
The global downturn has also put a meaning on the value of wealth. What wealth means to people varies markedly from country to country and analysis of spending priorities uncovers distinct social attitudes. For some Europeans, wealth is a vehicle for quality-of-life improvement. By contrast, in the emerging markets, the social implications of wealth may be of more importance. Spending on education is a top priority for Latin Americans and charitable giving has greater focus for the US. The concept of wealth as commanding respect is diminishing in Europe, while respondents in Asia Pacific and Latin America view being wealthy as worthy of respect from friends and family. These cultural differences could have huge implications for wealth creation and management in the next decade as local markets maintain differing ambitions and expectations for the opportunities that their wealth affords.
While their country to country, economic outlook and spending priorities may differ, what draws together wealthy individuals around the world is a growing ‘wealth consciousness’. The global downturn has brought about a greater desire for information and closer involvement with their own financial affairs. The emergence of the new ‘engaged investor’ will see the wealth management industry respond with greater transparency and a more discursive relationship with clients. The continued uncertainty around the prospects and timing of the global recovery may be causing investors to favour the more familiar asset classes of equities and property, despite expectations of only modest returns.
But, while wealthy individuals are holding faith that over the long term their investments will bear fruit, they will require more information on investment performance and other matters. The wealth management industry will need to adapt quickly to ensure that it provides the level of support investors are seeking.
The wealth map is evolving – as emerging markets grow in influence, wealth will no longer be concentrated in developed economies. As this report makes clear, the economic, cultural and social influence of the emerging markets’ wealthy will continue to shape global attitudes to wealth as we move into the next decade and a new era for wealth.