[OPE] Spare a thought for the world's super-rich, part 1

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Tue Feb 17 2009 - 16:15:20 EST

The credit crunch has scared even the world's richest people into sticking
their assets in safe havens. Private bankers and asset managers at the
Reuters Wealth Management Summit said gold, cash and government bonds were
in fashion -- at the expense of the modern art, private planes and yachts
which were more in vogue during the boom years.

Asked about the most alarming trend facing the economy, many billionaires
believe it is fear. "The entire economy has lost confidence in its jump
shot," said Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of pro-basketball's Dallas
Mavericks. "As a result, money will sit on the sidelines longer than we
would like, and when it is put to work, it will be in very conservative

The mayor of New York, former Wall Streeter, and founder of financial
services company Bloomberg says: "You can't just blame the banks, you also
can blame the people that took out mortgages ... We were brought up that you
first had to put some savings together and then enjoy. But this whole
society has gotten to the fact that we're a 'now, give it to me today' kind
of society. I think regulation has not been adequate. "There's no one person
to blame other than all of us," he added.

United Kingdom:

In one of the first studies showing the extent to which the credit crunch
has taken its toll on the ultra wealthy, those with free assets of 5m pounds
and above have lost 33% of their financial assets, according to the 11th
edition of the UK High Net Worth 2009 report "The Collapse in Wealth". The
number of UK high net worth individuals, those with assets of under 5m
pounds, fell by 19% last year, by 106,000 to 465,000 in January 2009. This
19% fall was the largest annual decline in HNW numbers since 1980. The
financial assets held by these individuals fell by 17%. There was a gross
decline of 140,000 individuals, offset by around 34,000 new HNW individuals.
Exposure to the property sector - particularly "Buy to let" - resulted in
substantial asset losses for approximately 34,500 HNW individuals in 2008,
with losses in this sector set to continue in 2009. The affluent market
fared better and numbers only fell by 11% to 1.66million. This year is
looking even bleaker. Over 2009 high net worth and ultra high net worth
assets are set to contract by as much as 3.5%, according to the report.
Britain's super-rich have seen their fortunes collapse by half in the
economic downturn, with more than 200 billion pounds of their money just
melting away. Research for the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List, to be published
in the spring, suggests that the fortunes of the 1,000 wealthiest people in
the UK have fallen more than 50% from 412.8 billion pounds in the list for
2008 to about 200 billion pounds.


Germany's 20 wealthiest families have lost about 40 billion euro in the
economic crisis in share values alone, the financial magazine
WirtschaftsWoche reported in its latest edition. The richest families have
lost "an average of 30 percent" of their fortunes since the summer of 2007,
leading asset manager Joachim Paul Schäfer told the magazine. "It is clear
now that the present crisis has inflicted much deeper wounds on big family
fortunes than the last four or five recessions combined," he said. "Fortunes
which have grown over the generations are as threatened as much as they were
in the hyperinflation of the 1920s or during the depression." The value of
the shares held by the Quandt industrial dynasty, which owns half the
capital of carmaker BMW, has halved in a year, according to
WirtschaftsWoche. The magazine Manager-Magazin claimed in October that 122
German individuals or families were worth at least a ?1 billion.


France's 16 billionaires were worth a combined $114 billion as of March
2008, up from $110 billion a year earlier. Their average net worth is an
impressive $8.2 billion, more than double the average net worth of $3.9
billion for the world's billionaires overall. Two of the 16 are among the
world's top 20 richest billionaires.

United States/world:

Forbes: More than 300 of the 1,125 billionaires we tallied on our annual
list in March 2008 have since lost at least $1 billion; several dozen lost
more than $5 billion. The 10 richest from our 2008 rankings dropped some
$150 billion of wealth, dragged down by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal,
estranged brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani and property baron K.P. Singh, who
together dropped $100 billion. America's 25 biggest billionaire losers of
2008 lost a combined $167 billion.

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Received on Tue Feb 17 16:18:13 2009

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