June 13, 2012
The personal wealth of the average Russian is rising faster than that of any other nationality in the world, according to the research firm Boston Consulting Group's annual "Global Wealth" report.
Russians' personal wealth rose by 21.4% in 2011 to $1.3 trillion, according to the report, which is slightly less than the value of the whole Russian economy and compares to the global total of $122 trillion (which itself is twice the size of global GDP). To put the Russian rise in wealth into perspective, the total personal wealth of the planet was up only 1.9% in 2011.
Boston Consulting found Russia's income distribution is still extremely top heavy, with just 686 families with incomes over $100m a year accounting for a massive 40% of all of Russia's personal wealth, who saw their wealth rise by a quarter in the year.
Still, even counting out the super-rich, the level of wealth of the average Russian is still rising very fast. The share of households with less than $100,000 is 15% of the total and their wealth rose by 12.7% last year.
And Russians don't do much with their wealth: almost two-thirds of Russia's wealth is simply held on deposit with banks. (However, another 14% of the total is held in offshore banking accounts in Switzerland and the UK – that is just the rich people again). A third is held in shares (ditto). Russian residents place only 0.1% of their funds in bonds, the study found.
Russia famously has more billionaires per capita than any other country, but in terms of the number of households with assets worth more than $100m, Russia ranks fourth behind the US, UK, and Germany.
A bit further down the scale, the 111,000 households with at least $1m or more – one household in every 475 – puts Russia in 18th place in the world, according to Boston Consulting. China has 13-times more households with at least $1m or more, but it also has 8.5-times more people. And the US has 46-times more millionaires with twice as many people.
Moscow remains an exception where wealth levels are three-times higher than the national average, still down from the 1990s where the multiple was 8 to 10-times more. However, the wealth of oil-rich regions like Tyumen have caught up with the capital.
In terms of per capita, personal income in Russia is also rising faster than any other country and Russian are already the richest of any emerging market population, although the 2008 crisis hurt Russia more than the other BRIC countries.