" "

Global Financial Wealth Market Sees First Decline in More Than a Decade

  • Global Financial Wealth Falls 4% to $255 Trillion in 2022, but a 5% Rebound Is Expected in 2023
  • The Value of Real Assets Rose by 5.5% to $261 Trillion
  • Absolute Global Wealth Rose by 1% Overall, to Reach $516 Trillion
  • BCG’s 23rd Annual Global Wealth Report Highlights How Wealth Managers Can Reset the Course to Create Sustainable Growth

BOSTON—The value of global financial wealth shrank for the first time in 15 years in 2022, declining by 4% to $255 trillion. Drivers include spiking inflation, the resulting rise in interest rates, and poor equity market performance against the backdrop of geopolitical uncertainty sparked by the war in Ukraine. However, the decline is expected to be short lived, with a 5% rebound to $267 trillion expected in 2023.

These are among the findings of the BCG Global Wealth Report 2023: Resetting the Course, the 23rd annual global wealth report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), being released today.

Bright spots in 2022 include a 6.2% increase in the value of personal cash and deposits, as a more risk-averse approach to investments prevailed. The value of real assets, ranging from real estate to art, also rose by 5.5% to reach $261 trillion. Overall, that brought total absolute global wealth to $516 trillion in 2022, a 1% increase compared with 2021.

“The first downturn in the global financial wealth market since the 2008 crisis came after a 10% rise in value in 2021, which was one of the sharpest in over a decade,” said Michael Kahlich, a BCG managing director and partner, and coauthor of the report. “We expect that the improving macroeconomic outlook and rebound in stock markets will drive a return to growth in financial wealth as early as 2023, and our five-year compound annual growth rate forecast to 2027 remains a healthy 5.3%. However, the recent headwinds in the market show how important it is for industry players to future proof now for consistent long-term growth.”

Domiciles and Regions Are Growing at Different Rates

Financial wealth continued to grow in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America in 2022, but declined in North America and Europe. In addition, as is often the case in the context of macroeconomic uncertainty, cross-border wealth rose by 4.8% in 2022 to reach $12 trillion globally. Against this backdrop, the year saw a shift in booking center dynamics, as follows:

  • Switzerland remains a highly attractive wealth management and financial hub but is expected to be overtaken by Hong Kong as the world’s largest booking center by the end of 2025.
  • Hong Kong has achieved the highest assets under management (AuM) growth rate among top booking centers over the last five years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%. However, it is facing strong competition from Singapore, which is increasingly perceived as a safe-haven gateway to the Asia Pacific region.
  • Finally, the United Arab Emirates attracted assets from across regions, including Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe, growing its AuM faster than any other booking center. Its financial wealth is expected to continue to grow over the next five years at a healthy 10% rate.

Profits Under Pressure

Margins in the industry had been eroding for a while, but wealth managers were buffered by the favorable climate in the financial markets and rising client business volumes. However, the latter registered an 11% decline in 2022. In addition, costs rose across the industry, driven by larger front-office teams, wage inflation, and technology spending, and are expected to remain high as inflation persists at levels above the previous decade. Pre-tax profit margins for wealth managers decreased by an average of 2.3 basis points (bps) globally. Players in the Asia Pacific and North America regions saw the steepest declines, with 5.5 bps in Asia Pacific and 3.1 bps in North America, compared with a 2.5 bps rise in Europe, and 0.3 bps increase in Latin America.

“Wealth managers need to adopt fresh initiatives on both the revenue and cost sides to remain competitive,” said Ivana Zupa, a coauthor of the report. “Key actions on the revenue side include building a scalable growth engine in client acquisition, designing a distinctive private market offering, revising the product shelf in line with shifting interest rates, and leading a long-overdue change in how financial advice is offered, driven by generative AI technology. In parallel, a bold approach is needed to reducing costs, including conducting an end-to-end process review, getting shoring decisions right, exploring third-party tech and operations solutions, and simplifying products and services via advice-like discretionary portfolio management.”

Download the publication here.

Media Contact:
Eric Gregoire
+1 617 850 3783

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we work closely with clients to embrace a transformational approach aimed at benefiting all stakeholders—empowering organizations to grow, build sustainable competitive advantage, and drive positive societal impact.
Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that question the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting, technology and design, and corporate and digital ventures. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and enabling them to make the world a better place.