(Refiles to clarify company name in 7th and 8th paragraphs)
By Joshua Franklin
LONDON, April 2 Europeans have proved the best
at preserving billion dollar fortunes through market peaks and
troughs over the past 25 years, a study showed on Wednesday.
Forbes Insights found 78 percent of family and individually
owned fortunes in Europe worth at least $1 billion have remained
intact since 1989, many belonging to families behind well known
brands such as BMW, L'Oreal and Swarovski.
This compared to 73 percent of individuals' fortunes in the
United States, 57 percent in the Americas and 50 percent in the
Middle East and Africa.
But the study found only 41 percent of individual European
billionaires retained their fortunes over the last 25 years.
Societe Generale, who worked with Forbes on the
report, said European families lean more to preserving old money
across generations where fortunes can sometimes be shared
between hundreds of family members.
Billionaires in the United States on the other hand direct
more of their wealth to charity, with dozens of U.S.
billionaires pledging to donate at least half their fortunes
through The Giving Pledge.
"In Europe, families are more adept and used to the notion
of planning their succession, not only for their businesses but
also for their wealth," said Jon Needham, Societe Generale
Private Banking Hambros' global head of fiduciary services.
Preserving wealth can be more difficult when the next
generation does not want to remain involved in the company
behind the fortune. This is most common in fortunes in their
third generation, said Societe Generale Private Banking Hambros
Chief Executive Eric Barnett.
"They want to express themselves in a different way," he
said. "If they were brought up in a brewing company they're
probably bored of beer."
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin, editing by David Evans)