Entrepreneurs and young professionals, the biggest beneficiaries of India’s economic prosperity, are buying works of art both to signal they have arrived in life and as a safe-haven investment, auctioneers and gallery owners say. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest report on wealth and super wealthy people has sprung a huge surprise. The Knight Frank Wealth Report by the global property consultancy has revealed that a good amount of wealth in this world is controlled by Indians, writes Priyanka Bhardwaj. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #India #Economy #SocialDivide #RichPoorDisparity @NaMo #NaMo @Narendramodi #NarendraModi

According to the global property consultancy, Knight Frank’s 11TH edition of The Wealth Report 2017 the annual increase in the number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) in India is all set to double during the next decade.

It defines UHNWIs as those with $30 million or more in net assets and tracks new super rich people living in 125 cities across 89 countries based on responses from almost 900 of the world’s leading private bankers and wealth advisors.

The South Asian country houses 2% of the world’s total number of millionaires (13.6 million), and 5% of world’s total number of billionaires (2,024).

The report states that while in the last decade there were around 500 new UHNWIs emerging every year in India, in the coming decade there will be an addition of 1,000 UHNWIs annually.

While in 2015-2016 there was a 12% increase of UHNWIs, in the next ten years their numbers are expected to grow at 150%.

In terms of growth rate of UHNWIs for 2016 India stands at a respectable 6th and it is predicted that the ranking may improve to the third position.

Hence, Mumbai, the financial capital of India and situated on the Arabian Sea, as it stands 21st on the city wealth index, much ahead of Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Moscow is ranked 11th in the “future wealth” category of 40 cities that includes Chicago, Paris, Sydney and Dubai.

On the city wealth index Delhi enjoys the 35th position, higher than that of Bangkok, Seattle or Jakarta.

Topping all Indian cities is Mumbai, with 1,340 UHNWIs, New Delhi or the national capital in the North comes a distant second with 680 UHNWIs, and then come Kolkata and Hyderabad with 280 and 260 UHNWIs respectively.

If the country’s total wealth is pegged at $6.2 trillion, as of December 2016, total wealth estimate of Mumbai is $820 billion, owned by 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires.

On the other hand, Delhi is home to 23,000 millionaires and 18 billionaires who own a collective wealth of $450 billion and Bengaluru has 7,700 millionaires and 8 billionaires who measure up to $320 billion.

However, when it comes to numbers of billionaires Kolkata and Chennai both have just four each, Hyderabad six, Pune five and Gurgaon has only two billionaires.

Interestingly, even as the real estate sector has plunged to unbelievable depths, particularly due to recent demonetization, 40% of the ultra rich citizens of the country still bet on the country’s realty sector, especially on the office space segment, and would like a home or two in Singapore, UK, UAE, U.S. or Hong Kong as compared to the global wealthy lot who prefer European residences.

If money be the passport to fine living, a sizeable section (27%) the country’s crème de la crème have displayed connoisseurs’ taste with high value purchase of collectibles such as wine, art and classic cars.

Among the top growth cities are those in sea-bordering Gujarat, Surat, Vadodra and Ahmedabad that have undergone rapid advancements in major business sectors of basic materials, cotton, textile manufacturing, auto manufacturing, IT and pharmaceutical industry.

Among those with high growth of UHNWIs are Goa, and preferred places of residence for wealthy retirees are Chandigarh and Jaipur.

In terms of localities in the cities, the affluent prefer to live in Mumbai’s Bandra, Juhu, Goregaon, Parel, Worli and Palm Beach Road, Delhi’s Westend Greens, Dera Mandi, Greater Kailash and Lutyens, Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills and Banjara Hills, Kolkata’s Ballygunge and Alipore, Chennai’s Boat Club Road and Poes Garden, and Gurgaon’s Golf Course Road.

Sports car enthusiasts drive luxury cars, in the streets of Mumbai. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images)

Notwithstanding the above preferences of residence, many ultra rich appeared to have awoken to the idea of a foreign home.

Reasons for fuelling this trend could be want of a more conducive socio-economic and political milieu, lesser cash curbs, better taxation and healthcare systems and overall much higher standards of living.

In 2016 alone 6,000 High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs) migrated out of the country, accounting for 50% surge in migration.

This phenomenon of exodus is not restricted to the Indian wealthy.

As global wealth is expected to rise by 35% in the next ten years, many countries are expected to witness increase in migration.

Recent terror attacks and political uncertainty in European nations, an imminent Frexit, along the lines of Brexit, in France and eventual diminishing of the European Union, are primary causes in migration of the UHNWIs from many European nations.

If a failed political coupe in Turkey pushed 6,000 millionaires to leave home, China’s economic crash in 2016 impelled close to 9,000 millionaires to leave for “greener pastures.”

Benefitting the most from this migration of the wealthy population are Australia, USA, UK, and Singapore that are more than eager to extend a red carpet welcome to millionaire migrants.

New World Wealth Report by a research company based in South Australia states that Australia’s offer of avenues of beaches, scenery, wildlife, bases for wealthy yacht owners, base to invest in emerging Asian economies, safety for children, relative immunity from Middle East crisis and terror attacks, lower inheritance taxes and better healthcare systems have made it the number one destination of the migrating rich.

Juxtaposed to the figures of 38% jump in HNIs migrating to Australia (11,000 in 2016 versus 8,000 in 2015), the U.S. saw 43% rise in HNIs immigrants (10,000 in 2016 versus 7,000 in 2015).

While India may not be a perfect destination for the global wealthy who can afford to shop around the world for citizenships and homes as their successes do not depend on the location of stay, still it may not be totally impossible for the country’s authorities to try to lessen the exodus of elite Indians by raising the standards of living.

Migrations have a direct impact on local currency, consumption, stock markets, property sector and tax collections and hence to avoid any negative impact the government would do well to heed that the Indian rich is migrating not due to the temptation of an exotic address but for a need.