A report published Thursday by Swiss bank UBS found the wealth of 53 of its billionaire clients grew $150.8 billion through inheritance over the past 12 months, compared with $140.7 billion generated by the efforts of 84 newly minted billionaires. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The world's billionaires inherited more assets and cash in the past 12 months than they made from dealing, business and investment, Swiss banking giant UBS said Thursday.
Fifty-three billionaires' wealth grew $150.8 billion through inheritance, compared with the $140.7 billion generated by the efforts of 84 newly minted billionaires, the bank's global wealth management arm said in its 2023 survey of billionaire clients.
UBS said that following a surge in entrepreneurial activity in recent decades, billionaires are passing down their wealth on an unprecedented scale, resulting in the class of '23 billionaires gaining more wealth from inheritance that from their own efforts for the first time since the survey began in 2014.
The bank said "the great wealth transfer" was not a blip but a step-change among the world's wealthiest families that would see trillions of dollars pass to the next generation in coming years.
"This year's report found that the majority of billionaires that accumulated wealth in the last year did so through inheritance, as opposed to entrepreneurship. This is a theme we expect to see more of over the next 20 years, as more than 1,000 billionaires pass an estimated $5.2 trillion to their children," said Benjamin Cavalli, head of strategic clients at UBS Global Wealth Management.
"The next generation has fresh views about business, investing and philanthropy, redirecting large pools of private wealth to new business opportunities arising from the times we live in. Engineering a smooth succession will require founders and their families to do things differently, more than ever discovering common values and purpose to navigate a way forward that appeases all generations and allows them to continue building their legacies," Cavalli said.
Legacy was a key theme among survey respondents with 68% with inherited wealth saying that meant continuing to grow the business, brand, or assets built up by their parents. Some 60% of billionaire heirs said they wanted to use their wealth to benefit future generations and 32% said they would implement their parent's philanthropy ambitions.
Strong business growth and Europe's consumer and retail billionaires helped the exclusive community recover most of its losses from a post-pandemic downturn that saw net worth plunge by a fifth in 2022.
Billionaires' wealth rebounded by 9% to $12 trillion compared with $11 trillion in the previous 12 months, while the number of billionaires globally jumped by 168 to 2,544.
UBS said that while tech and healthcare billionaires accounted for the greatest wealth accumulation over the past decade, there were early indications that billionaire industrialists' time was coming amid the energy transition and higher defense spending in a number of economies.
The wealth of the billionaires with industrial companies was up by 15%, the bank said.
UBS's survey results come a month after a report by the European Union found thousands of the world's richest billionaires use legal loopholes and shell companies to avoid taxes.