ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

The number of High Net Worth Individuals, or HNWIs, in Turkey rose from 42,000 to 50,000 last year, according to a Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report, published yesterday. The report defines High Net Worth Individuals as those whose property exceeds $1 million in financial assets excluding collectibles, consumables, consumer durables and primary residences.
Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals, or Ultra-HNWIs, meanwhile, hold at least $30 million in financial assets.
Regardless of the economic slowdown that started in the third quarter of 2007, wealth in Turkey increased along with the rest of the world, said Kubilay Cinemre, the general manager of Merrill Lynch Turkey.
�Last year, in parallel with the global trend, the number of HNWIs in Turkey grew by 17.5 percent. Regardless of the slowdown, Turkey has the potential needed to cope with the problems in the long term: A young population, developed human resources, a strong entrepreneurial culture, geographic location, and historical and economic status,� he told journalists. �In the past five years, wealth in Turkey has grown more rapidly than before.�
Factors that contributed to the expansion of HNWI population in Turkey were the 4.5 percent growth of real GDP, growth in export volume and slowdown in imports excluding energy, added Cinemre. �Increasing inflation, savings volume and strengthening of the YTL also functioned as boosters in the process - whereas the notable tax burden hampered it.�

Strong growth in emerging markets:
Last year, the property of HNWIs increased by 9.4 percent globally, and reached $40.7 trillion, the report found. There are currently some 10.1 million HNWIs in the world, 6 percent more than in 2006. The number of Ultra-HNWIs, on the other hand, increased by 8.8 percent and reached 103,320 people.
The increase in HNWI population was highest in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America, expanding by 15.6 percent, 14.3 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively. These growth rates far exceeded those of developed economies, largely stemming from gains in commodity exports and growing international acceptance of emerging financial centers as global players, said the report. �Emerging markets, including Turkey, went through several economic crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, which have made their central banks and governments more experienced in taking precautions,� Cinemre added.
However, the largest share of HNWI wealth is still in North America at 11.7 percent, in Europe at 10.6 percent, and in Asia-Pacific at 9.5 percent. Africa has the smallest share of HNWI wealth, with only 1 percent.
Merrill Lynch expects the wealth of HNWIs to grow by 7.7 percent annually and reach $59.1 trillion by year 2012. �Regardless of the slower growth we expect, North America will continue to be the leader, with $16.3 trillion of all wealth,� said Cinemre.