October 1, 2014 / 2:46 PM / 4 years ago

Wealth in Europe at record high of 56 trillion euros: report

LONDON (Reuters) - Private wealth across Europe reached an all-time high of 56 trillion euros (43.59 trillion pounds) last year and is set to rise by a further 40 percent to almost 80 trillion by 2019, research conducted by a Swiss private bank showed.

The company logo is placed beside the entrance of the headquarters of Swiss bank Julius Baer in Zurich May 28, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Julius Baer’s inaugural “Wealth Report: Europe” showed that despite recent concerns about economic malaise, Europe has maintained his role as one of the wealthiest region’s in the world, its authors said.

Wealth in Europe rose by 1.7 percent last year, exceeding the previous peak recorded prior to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Germany, Britain, France and Italy accounted for almost three quarters of total net wealth, which is defined as gross financial assets, minus debt plus real assets.

Wealth levels per adult were highest in Luxembourg, where the average adult holds more than 400,000 euros compared with the European average was 167,100 per adult.

However the financial crisis took its toll in Spain and Greece. Around 1.4 trillion euros of wealth have been destroyed in Spain since 2007, it said.

Concerns were also raised that more wealth is becoming concentrated in fewer hands. The report said that more than half of the total wealth is held by the wealthiest 10 percent of European households.

“It is important to understand that excessive inequality slows a country’s economic growth and weakens aggregate demand,” Julius Baer’s Chief Investment Officer Burkhard Varnholt wrote in the report.

He said the wealthy should consider investment opportunities that have clear social benefit to help inequality and youth unemployment.

Other investments include art, which has seen both volumes and value traded rise in the last decade. Julius Baer, which has its own art collection and a team of curators, said this has coincided with an increase in the number of high net worth individuals in China and other emerging markets.

Reporting by Clare Hutchison, editing by Louise Heavens

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