Latin American wealth growth trumps other regions

Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:43am EDT

* Millionaire wealth in region up 18.1 pct since 2007

* Four-year growth pattern beats all world regions

By Kevin Gray

MIAMI, June 22 (Reuters) - Millionaires in Latin America fared better than their compatriots in other regions during the global recession.

A combination of a conservative investing streak and Latin America's brisk recovery helped millionaires in the region minimize losses in the last four years, according to the latest annual Merrill Lynch-Capgemini World Wealth Report.

Their combined wealth rose 18.1 percent from 2007 to 2010, beating the 14.1 percent pace of Asia-Pacific millionaires, the second-highest achievers.

North American rich people saw their asset values fall 0.8 percent during the four-year period, while European millionaires suffered a shrinkage of 4.4 percent. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Related stories:

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Latin America has demonstrated "its resilience and its ability to grow consistently," said Capgemini Financial Services' David Wilson, an author of the report.

The region, to be sure, has large pockets of poverty and fewer millionaires than many other areas. Fewer than half a million people in Latin America have investable assets of $1 million or more, the report said.

North America has the most wealthy, with 3.4 million millionaires.

Major U.S. and global banks have not ignored Latin American wealth. The study found the ranks of wealth management advisers in the region surging as local economies quickly returned to growth after the global slowdown.

Brazil and Mexico are home to the largest concentrations of money. More than 40 percent of Latin America's millionaires are in Brazil, according to British lender Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L). (Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Jed Horowitz)

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