World Shaping Wealth

The impact of affluence on the next economy


Private wealth has always had a significant impact in shaping the world that we live in. As horrifying events continue to unfold on the world stage, there is hope in the form of a clear demonstration of the social conscience and sense of responsibility held by most of the world's ultra high net worth population to use their wealth as a force for good.

This international study examines the behaviours, motivations and goals of today’s UHNW individuals. 81% of those individuals told us they believe they have a responsibility to use their wealth to solve global issues. Climate change, future pandemics, and addressing inequality and poverty are all in their sights – as now, no doubt, will be supporting those in the midst of conflict.

It is clear that the vast majority of the world's wealthy want to direct capital to affect positive change and address urgent societal challenges. But in an age of exponential change the impact of private capital could be the deciding factor in the future of the planet.

Tech-enabled globalisation has connected the world in a way we have never experienced, with disruptive technologies shaping the lives of UHNW individuals internationally. The older money has pivoted to transform and thrive, while the so called 'next gen' have rapidly built their wealth through the opportunities emerging technologies afford.

Now they want to take this innovative mindset and apply it to solving some of the world's biggest problems.

Ambitious goals are being set at local, national and international levels and without private wealth, governments will not have sufficient capital to make their plans a reality. Now more than ever, as the world seeks to recover from the pandemic while facing the daunting prospect of achieving net zero, a huge amount rests on the shoulders of UHNW individuals.

They do however face their own challenges. Economic uncertainty, ever changing regulation and geopolitical disruption are on their minds. They're worried about protecting their family's financial future and securing their legacy - a legacy which an increasing number want to be philanthropic.

There is also a shift in their expectations of their advisors. Only 9% of those we surveyed said they prefer to leave the management of their wealth entirely to the experts. The world's wealthiest want more from their advisors. They want a holistic, proactive service, with advisors going beyond their brief to actively support them in all areas of their personal and professional lives.

This does not only apply to financial advisors and other intermediaries. It applies to the legal industry as well. We need to embrace change and be adaptable, offering our clients a global perspective. We need to give thoughtful, flexible advice within the context of the increasingly complex regulatory environments by which they are bound.

We need to not only provide legal and financial advice, but perform a wider, more impactful role and help UHNW individuals navigate today's world of increased transparency and scrutiny.

Our ambition is to work together with the advisors who surround the UHNW community to challenge client expectations and help them achieve their goals.

Thank you to all those who participated in our study. To the private wealth advisors, we look forward to exploring together how we can use the findings outlined in this report to help you have more informed conversations with your clients. To those individuals and families that took part, we hope that this report will give you some fresh ways of looking at some of the thoughts and challenges you're facing right now. If there is anything in this report that piques your interest, or you would like to learn more about the full set of findings, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Nick Warr

Head of International Private Wealth

+44 20 7300 4232

About the study Our international study – World Shaping Wealth: the impact of affluence on the next economy – examines the behaviours, motivations and goals of today’s UHNW individuals, defined as having a net worth of at least US$100 million. Independent opinion research was conducted in late 2021 among 215 UHNW individuals, with a combined estimated wealth of US$69.4 billion, and 225 of the private wealth advisors who work with them (private banks, family offices, accountancies and trustees). Respondents were based in Austria, China, France, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK, and the US.