Number of billionaires grew by almost 40% over past 5 years

Jeff Bezos

About half of that decline is due to a depreciation in the Chinese yuan against the USA dollar, according to the report.

The report also looked into the so-called "billionaire effect", or the pattern of companies controlled by billionaires to produce higher returns.

"The billionaire boom of the past five years has now undergone a natural correction", Josef Stadler, the head of ultra high net worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a statement on the new report.

More than £300bn has been wiped off the fortunes of the world's billionaires after a strong dollar and volatile stock markets caused their wealth to shrink for the first time in five years.

The net worth of the world's billionaires dropped 4.3 per cent to US$8.5 trillion in 2018, according to a UBS and PwC report.

The report found that billionaires tend to share three traits that make their companies successful: smart risk taking, business focus and determination.

Worldwide, the number of billionaires fell everywhere except in the Americas, where tech entrepreneurs continued to buoy the ranks of the United States' wealthiest.

According to UBS and PwC, companies run by billionaires enjoyed returns of 17.8% between 2003 and the end of 2018.

Self-made billionaires are employing new techniques for global philanthropy, uniting with other billionaires, non-governmental organizations and charities, the report said. The number of women billionaires increased 46% over the same time period to reach 233, but that's only 11% of the total.

Taiwanese billionaires' wealth mainly comes from the real-estate, materials, and consumer and retail industries, due to the nation's social-economic environment and policies, PwC Taiwan financial services leader Richard Watanabe (吳偉臺) said at the conference.

Ten of the world's top 20 tech billionaires are from the United States and four are from China, including ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming. Warren this week released a billionaire calculator to help the ultrawealthy see how much they'd have left under her plan, which would impose an annual 2 percent tax on households with more than $50 million in assets and a 6 percent levy on fortunes in excess of $1 billion.

The UBS banker acknowledged that wealth has become concentrated in fewer hands, but he said that concerns about inequality need to be balanced against what billionaires have achieved.

A multitude of studies and books have similarly concluded that billionaires think differently than the majority of the population, and even think differently than millionaires.



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