Considering it takes Canadian CEOs until around lunchtime on January 4th to earn the average Canadian worker’s annual salary, perhaps it’s no surprise that Canada is home to the fifth-most “ultra-rich” people in the world.
According to New York-based research firm Wealth-X, there were 10,840 “ultra high net worth” (UHNW) individuals living in Canada last year. The UHNW threshold is a net worth of $30 million USD or more.
Unsurprisingly, the United States is home to the highest super-rich population in the world, with almost 80,000 people boasting a net worth of at least $30 million USD. Japan, China, and Germany follow, respectively. Globally, the number of super-rich reached the equivalent to a record-high share of 13.7%, or just under 35,000 people.
“Buoyed by a synchronized upturn in the world economy, rising asset markets, and robust corporate earnings, the combined net worth of the ultra high net worth (UHNW) population increased by 16.3% to $31.5trn, implying healthy gains in average net wealth,” reads the report. While that all sounds great, it should be noted that the average net worth of Canadians overall fell in 2017.
So, why does Canada have so many UHNW individuals despite its relatively small population? That can be largely attributed to economic policy.
“One of our recent studies and research conducted by French economist Thomas Piketty and colleagues have demonstrated that inheritance tax is a key mechanism for wealth distribution,” said Ricardo Tranjan, a senior researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). “Canada doesn’t have such a tax, whereas most European countries do.” Canada is actually the only G7 country without such a tax.
According to the report, every major region in the world saw its population of UHNW individuals grow. This growth was led by Asia, which posted a 27 per cent increase in ultra wealth. The fastest-growing city in the top 10 was Hong Kong (31 per cent year-on-year increase) while New York showed the slowest growth among the top 10 cities (10 per cent).