WealthSpike: Where would you prefer to be very rich? Not London


It seems that London is losing its allure for the very rich, if surveys are to be believed. So where’s hot these days if you’ve got a lot of money? Places where governments have control of their borders, it would appear…

Research done by a group called New World Wealth reckons that the number of millionaires, those with assets of $1 million and above, excluding their primary property, coming to London fell off steeply last year. The reasons given for leaving was a combination of the high cost of living, cultural changes, and taxes.

It’s too early to say whether this represents a trend and that London is slowly emptying out of multi-multi millionaires and billionaires. But it might just be. London hasn’t always been the capital of the global super-rich. In fact, back in the 1970s, the UK capital was one of the least attractive places the rich lived. Far better to be in Paris back then, when the City of Light was a lot more of an appealing destination for the very rich.

OK, Paris might not be about to regain that allure in the next thirty years – it has cultural and tax issues that will probably keep the super-rich from accumulating there in any meaningful numbers for many years yet. But WealthSpike reckons the super rich are likely to be attracted to countries where governments have greater control on issues like immigration.

In Europe, that probably means Switzerland, which, of course, has been attracting the super-rich for many years. America’s super-rich will be happy to stay at home. But for those no longer content with the UK, the figures suggest Australia might become more popular, as Sydney and Melbourne saw the biggest influx of millionaires in world last year, according to New World Wealth. And many of these millionaires aren’t just coming from Asia, but from Europe as well.

Of course, some of UK’s super-rich might be ditching London, but staying in the UK. Again, the New World Wealth numbers appear to be showing this migration trend among the UK’s wealthiest. That trend will probably rise in the years ahead.

London isn’t about to suddenly lose its allure for the world’s richest – it’s got too much going for it – but in ten, or twenty years time, we might look back to around now as the time when it started to be less appealing for the super rich. How that will affect everyone else remains to be seen.