When the U.K.’s Sunday Times Rich List was first published in 1989, only 43 of the country’s richest 200 people, or 21%, had made their fortunes themselves.
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The list was a who’s who of inherited wealth and aristocracy, led by figures such as the Duke of Westminster and the Queen, but also encompassing 11 of the U.K.’s 25 dukes, six marquesses, 14 earls and nine viscounts.
A quarter of a century later, this picture in the U.K. and many other countries is very different. Wealth is now more international, more diverse and more driven by entrepreneurship rather than inheritance. On the 2013 Sunday Times Rich List, almost 80% of the entrants are self-made and a high proportion were born overseas. The absolute figures of wealth are also much higher — compared with 1989, the U.K. is home to ten times as many billionaires.
We see similar patterns elsewhere in the world. In the U.S., for example, numerous studies have shown that inheritance is far less common as a source of wealth than an individual’s own endeavours. But perhaps the biggest shift of all is taking place in emerging markets. In the space of a little more than two decades, deregulation, globalisation and technology have, for the first time, created a new generation of wealthy individuals who owe their fortunes to entrepreneurship and business opportunities.
This changing landscape of wealth has significant implications across a wide range of areas. Individuals who have earned their fortunes through entrepreneurship or success in business typically have a different relationship with their wealth than those who have inherited it. Their approach to spending, saving and sharing their money is likely to be quite distinct and driven by factors such as their risk tolerance, confidence in future earnings potential and a desire to fulfil social obligations with their wealth.
In this report, we explore how different origins of wealth can affect the way in which wealthy individuals prepare for the future and consider their legacy through wealth planning and philanthropy. We look at how the world of wealth is changing, and examine the implications of this shift on the relationship between the wealthy and broader society.