Dubai Marina Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The super-rich people living in the UAE are getting even richer and they now control more than half of the wealth found in the country.

A report published on Tuesday showed that only a small number, the top one per cent of the UAE population, own 51 per cent of the total wealth held by all individuals, including expatriates, based in the country.

They are the so-called high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), or the US dollar millionaires with cash, bank deposits, investments, properties and other assets worth at least $1 million (Dh3.6 million).

As of December 2017, New World Wealth reported that there are approximately 88,700 of such people living in the UAE and all their net assets, when combined, are estimated to be worth $470 billion.

That’s more than what the rest of the population own, which means the assets amassed by a few people living in UAE are bigger than the ones owned by at least 9 million people.

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Considering the sheer amount of wealth that the super rich have control of, plus the fortunes held by the rest of the residents, the UAE is now being regarded as the largest wealth market in the Middle East and the 26th largest worldwide.

People in the UAE together hold $925 billion in net assets, according to New World Wealth, making the UAE one of the richest destinations on the planet, even surpassing other wealthy hotspots such as New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa, Israel and Portugal.

However, while there seems to be a huge wealth gap between the super-rich and the rest of the residents in the country, there isn’t any cause for concern, because the middle class are also seeing their fortunes grow.

“The UAE is a magnet for migrating HNWIs, so this pushes this ratio up,” Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told Gulf News.

“However, I don’t think the high share of wealth held by HNWIs is anything to be concerned about, as the UAE has a strong middle class segment, too.”

Over the past 20 years, more rich individuals have moved their residence to the UAE. In 2017 alone, more than 5,000 HNWIs moved to the country, and many of them are Indians, Turkish, Saudis, Egyptians, Nigerians, Iranians and Lebanese.

The UAE is also home to 3,800 multi-millionaires, each with net assets of $10 million or more. Those who have net assets of at least $100 million, the so-called centi-millionaires, accounted for 240 individuals. Only 13 people are billionaires, with assets of at least $1 billion.

So, who are these rich people living in UAE?

Many of these individuals are expatriates who come from countries like India, Turkey, South Africa and Nigeria, among others.

The majority of HNWIs (31 per cent) hold degrees or backgrounds in economics, accounting and finance, while a significant number (22 per cent) are engineers and 12 per cent are lawyers. Only a small number are doctors (7 per cent) and computer sciences and technology professionals (6 per cent).

What is their level of education?

The overwhelming majority of the wealthiest people in the country (60 per cent) have completed an undergraduate course or degree, while 35 per cent have post-graduate diplomas. A small number (5 per cent) completed only high or secondary school.

Where do they get their money from?

Apparently, the financial and professional services sector is the biggest generator of wealth for the rich people living in the UAE, representing 18 per cent of the fortunes raised, followed by oil and gas and basic materials (15 per cent) and real estate and construction (10 per cent).

Industries in which HNWIs in the UAE have acquired their wealth:

Financial and professional services: 18 per cent
Oil and gas and basic materials: 10 per cent
Diversified: 9 per cent
Transport and logistics: 8 per cent
Tech and telecoms: 7 per cent
Healthcare: 7 per cent
Hotels and leisure: 6 per cent
Retail and fashion: 6 per cent
Other: 5 per cent
Manufacturing: 4 per cent
FMCG: 3 per cent
Media: 2 per cent

Source: New World Wealth