[OPE] Asia's elite lost 35% of their wealth in financial crisis

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Wed Oct 14 2009 - 16:29:28 EDT

Rich Get Poorer: 2008 Hit Asians Hardest .
WSJ 14 Oct 2009

HONG KONG -- After years of easy money, Asia's elite suffered worse
financial pain last year than their counterparts elsewhere, according to a
study released Tuesday. The region's richest individuals lost 35% of their
wealth amid the financial turmoil of 2008, compared with a 24% decline for
the richest people world-wide, the study by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth
Management and consulting firm Capgemini said.

Within Asia, Hong Kong's wealthy lost the most. The ranks of those in Hong
Kong whose net worth totaled US$1 million or more shrank by 61% from a year
earlier, the study said. Hong Kongers' legendary appetite for riskier
assets, including stocks, property and structured products, left the
finances of many of the city's rich in tatters. "The volatility of the past
year caused a major shift in terms of clients' net worth," said Francis Liu,
marketing managing director for Greater China at Merrill Lynch's wealth

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 48% in 2008. While the index has
recovered about half of that loss this year, many wealthy clients have held
cash instead of jumping back into the market. As a result of their high
exposure to property and equity markets, Asia's "ultra" wealthy --
individuals with at least $30 million in net worth -- experienced steeper
losses in aggregate than their global counterparts last year. In Japan,
where about 43% of the region's wealth is concentrated, wealthy individuals
registered milder declines in net worth, roughly 17% overall. China
represents the second-biggest wealth market, taking up nearly 23% of the
total $7.4 trillion in assets held by wealthy individuals.

Complete http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125542621874682089.html

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Received on Wed Oct 14 16:34:04 2009

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