The survey, released by investment management firm Merrill Lynch on Tuesday, says that Israel's “million dollar” achievement was outclassed only by Hong Kong and India, which had 104% and 50.9% more millionaires respectively by the end of last year. Overall, there are 10 million millionaires around the world - 17% more than a year before – with assets worth in excess of $39 trillion. Israel's 8,000 plus millionaires hold $42.4 billion in assets.
The rise in the number of Israeli millionaires was attributed to the excellent performance of both the finance and real estate markets in Israel during 2009.
Besides millionaires, Israel saw a 13% rise in the number of multi-millionaires – individuals with over $30 million in assets – during 2009. There were 83 multi-millionaires in Israel at the end of 2009, 10 more than at the end of 2008.
This is the 14th year Merrill Lynch has conducted the survey.
The rise in the number of Israeli millionaires was attributed to the excellent performance of both the finance and real estate markets in Israel during 2009. Financial markets, including stocks, government and corporate bonds, and other investments grew 40% in 2009, while real assets, such as homes, apartments, and land, were up 15%.
Speaking on Israel Radio, Sigal Shapira, who heads Merrill Lynch Israel's private banking division, said that the results showed the wisdom of holding onto financial assets for the mid- and long-term. “Over the past few years the financial markets have seen many reversals. In 2008, financial markets took an unprecedented nosedive, while just a year later, we were witness to clear sights of recovery,” she said.
According to the survey, most of the world's millionaires are concentrated in the United States, Japan, and Germany. The U.S. alone has 31%, or 3.1 million, of the world's millionaires.