Saudi Arabia has largest ultra high net worth population in region: Study

Updated 05 October 2015
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Saudi Arabia has largest ultra high net worth population in region: Study

Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly account for over 45 percent of the UHNW (ultra high net worth) population in the Middle East, a new Wealth-X study has found.
The wealth-intelligence organization defines UHNW individuals as those with $30 million and above in net assets.
Saudi Arabia has the largest UHNW population (1,495 ultra wealthy individuals) and UHNW wealth ($320 billion) in the region, followed by the UAE, according to the report.
In the UAE, there are 1,275 such individuals, worth a combined $255 billion, representing 20 percent of the total ultra wealthy population in the Middle East.
The UAE is ranked 22nd in Wealth-X’s global ranking of UHNW population by country, behind Saudi Arabia (17) but ahead of Kuwait (32).
Nearly 1,000 ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals are based in UAE capital Abu Dhabi (450 individuals) and Dubai (495).
The report said that Saudi Arabia’s more dispersed economic growth has resulted in a split of its UHNW population across. a few of its key hubs.
All of these main hubs have experienced faster growth in UHNW population than their respective country’s average. This concentration exemplifies how vital infrastructure is in facilitating the growth of both fortunes and opportunities. As such, clusters continue to dominate, and we expect these cities’ existing pull of international resources to become stronger, said the report.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly account for over 45% of the region’s UHNW population, and both of these countries experienced fast growth in UHNW population and wealth.
The only country in the region to experience an overall decline in its UHNW population and wealth this year was Kuwait, due to the slow GDP growth and a declining equity market in the country. In Saudi Arabia or UAE, the UHNW populations control more than half their respective countries’ total wealth.
There are 1,275 ultra wealthy individuals in the UAE, representing 20 percent of the total ultra wealthy population in the Middle East, Wealth-X research shows.
The combined wealth of the UAE’s ultra high net worth population stands at $255 billion.
 The study also reveals that 57 percent of the UAE’s UHNW population amassed their fortune through entrepreneurship.
Only 8 percent fully inherited their fortune; and 35 percent partially inherited and grew their wealth.
 
Below are other key findings from the study:
 
• Nearly 1,000 UHNW individuals are based in Abu Dhabi (450 individuals) and Dubai (495).
• Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly account for over 45 percent of the UHNW population in the Middle East.
• Only 3 percent of the UAE’s UHNW population made its wealth through oil, gas and consumable fuels.
• The most significant source of wealth for the UAE’s UNHW population is industrial conglomerates, at more than 20 percent.
• The UAE is ranked 22nd in Wealth-X’s global ranking of UHNW population by country, behind Saudi Arabia (17) but ahead of Kuwait (32).
There are nearly 6,000 UHNW individuals in the Middle East with a combined net worth of $995 billion.
David Awit, Wealth-X director for Middle East, said: “Despite the UAE equity market suffering declines of nearly 20 percent in the last year, our study shows that UHNW individuals in the country have defied this economic backdrop to record further increases in their fortunes in 2015, highlighting the ability of the world’s wealthiest individuals to continue to create new wealth.”


Davos organizer WEF warns of growing risk of cyberattacks in Gulf

Updated 16 January 2019
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Davos organizer WEF warns of growing risk of cyberattacks in Gulf

  • Critical infrastructure such as power centers and water plants at particular risk, says expert
  • Report finds that unemployment is a major concern in Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia

LONDON: The World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned of the growing possibility of cyberattacks in the Gulf — with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar particularly vulnerable.

Cyberattacks were ranked as the second most important risk — after an “energy shock” — in the three Gulf states, according to the WEF’s flagship Global Risks Report 2019.

The report was released ahead of the WEF’s annual forum in Davos, Switzerland, which starts on Tuesday.

In an interview with Arab News, John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at professional services firm Marsh & McLennan said: “The risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as power centers and water plants is moving up the agenda in the Middle East, and in the Gulf in particular.”

Drzik was speaking on the sidelines of a London summit where WEF unveiled the report, which was compiled in partnership with Marsh and Zurich Insurance.

“Cyberattacks are a growing concern as the regional economy becomes more sophisticated,” he said.

“Critical infrastructure means centers where disablement could affect an entire society — for instance an attack on an electric grid.”

Countries needed to “upgrade to reflect the change in the cyber risk environment,” he added.

The WEF report incorporated the results of a survey taken from about 1,000 experts and decision makers.

The top three risks for the Middle East and Africa as a whole were found to be an energy price shock, unemployment or underemployment, and terrorist attacks.

Worries about an oil price shock were said to be particularly pronounced in countries where government spending was rising, said WEF. This group includes Saudi Arabia, which the IMF estimated in May 2018 had seen its fiscal breakeven price for oil — that is, the price required to balance the national budget — rise to $88 a barrel, 26 percent above the IMF’s October 2017 estimate, and also higher than the country’s medium-term oil-price target of $70–$80.

But that disclosure needed to be balanced with the fact that risk of “fiscal crises” dropped sharply in the WEF survey rankings, from first position last year to fifth in 2018.

The report said: “Oil prices increased substantially between our 2017 and 2018 surveys, from around $50 to $75. This represents a significant fillip for the fiscal position of the region’s oil producers, with the IMF estimating that each $10 increase in oil prices should feed through to an improvement on the fiscal balance of 3 percentage points of GDP.”

At national level, this risk of “unemployment and underemployment” ranked highly in Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia.
“Unemployment is a pressing issue in the region, particularly for the rapidly expanding young population: Youth unemployment averages around 25 percent and is close to 50 percent in Oman,” said the report.

Other countries attaching high prominence to domestic and regional fractures in the survey were Tunisia, with “profound
social instability” ranked first, and Algeria, where respondents ranked “failure of regional and global governance” first.

Looking at the global picture, WEF warned that weakened international co-operation was damaging the collective will to confront key issues such as climate change and environmental degradation.