wealth

Voting is already underway in the state of Maharashtra, with citizens in the city of Mumbai casting their ballot next week.

And to stir things up, National Election Watch has released a new report analysing the financial and criminal records of candidates in the region. The questionable past of many leading figures in Indian politics is, sadly, old news. But the fact that organisations are digging up such detailed information on would-be leaders is a sign of progress in the world’s largest democracy, where governance has become the issue of the day. 

By Avantika Chilkoti in Mumbai and Thomas Hale in London

Three major private banks have closed operations in India in recent months, as cultural and regulatory challenges derail groups initially drawn by growing wealth in Asia’s third largest economy.

An emerging market with a high savings rate, a collection of some of the world’s most flamboyant businessmen, and economic growth hovering around 5 per cent despite a sharp slowdown, India should be a gold mine for the private banking industry. 

How many billionaires does China have? Depends who you ask.

A new report from WealthInsight puts the number at 195, much higher than estimates by other media. Overall, China’s rich are set to grow fast in the next five years – just not as fast as they did in the last five. 

Russian collectors are a growing force on the booming global art market, where prices for trophy works are beating all-time records. But it is Russian art that will take centre stage next week as leading auction houses in London offer an eclectic range of important works from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Russian art is not yet fully appreciated by international connoisseurs. But rich Russians can’t get enough of it. They’re prepared to fork out huge sums for a slice of their national heritage. 

By Ben Aris of bne

Despite its current financial woes, Slovenia is the most prosperous country in Emerging Europe, according to the latest annual prosperity index from the Legatum Institute. Armenia comes in last.

While income is an important part of prosperity, the institute has broadened the definition to take into account of some of the non-material things that make life worth living, as defined in sub-indices such as “Safety & Security”, “Personal Freedom”, “Social Capital”, “Education”, among others. 

Aside from some dynastic billionaires, until recently new wealth was viewed with suspicion in Colombia, being a possible result of drug trafficking.

But times seem to have changed. Although drug kingpins still exist, they are less conspicuous – gone are the times of Pablo Escobar’s hippos and Rasguño’s Ferraris – while legitimate fortunes appear to be on the rise. That’s according to WealthInsight, a research company, that claims that in recent times Colombia has created millionaires quicker than Brazil and Mexico. 

Wang Jianlin: sitting pretty

Twice in the last few years, Zong Qinghou of Wahaha, China’s drinks king, has been the country’s richest man. This year, according to the Hurun Rich List released today, his fortune has swelled by half.

But despite that, he’s lost pride of place to a man who doesn’t make much of anything – except making sure that people around the world have a place to watch movies, shop and buy yachts. 

Wealthy Russians buying mansions overseas is hardly new: just see London. Now Cape Town is becoming one of the target cities, spurred by the lifestyle and scenery – and helped by the rand’s decline that is making high-end property that bit cheaper.

Luxury property giants Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa says buyers from Germany and England are still interested, but the Russians are beginning to get noticed as well. 

Private wealth in the Gulf states has grown 7 per cent over the past year amid strong oil revenues and rebounding equity markets, but the region continues to harbour some of the world’s starkest wealth disparities, a new study shows, reports Simeon Kerr.

Wealth in the broader Middle East and Africa has risen from $4.4tn in 2011 to a forecast $4.8tn in 2012, putting it in the “same ballpark” as global growth of 8 per cent in the same period, says Boston Consulting Group’s Global Wealth Report 2013. 

Impact investing is a way of doing good while not giving your money away for good. The FT’s Paul J Davies talks to fundraisers and entrepreneurs about bringing socially conscious investing to the wealthy of Asia.

Multinationals are never slow to spot a branding opportunity. Everywhere from the local supermarket to the Olympic Games has become familiar territory. But India has managed to come up with a new possibility – the wedding reception.

 

These are hard times for Chinese government officials, it seems: corruption just isn’t what it used to be.

At least that’s the headline finding of Tuesday’s Hurun Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2013, which discovered that super-premium Chinese liquor (Moutai) and top end luxury watches are no longer the Chinese millionaire’s favourite gifts. 

Another day, another rich Chinese buys a French vineyard? Much as they did with Chinese art, Chinese investors are convinced they are onto a good thing with French red wine: they have bought some 30 to 40 vineyards in Bordeaux in the past two years, since China became the French region’s largest export market.

But now, according to reports in the Chinese press, an unnamed Chinese industrialist has scored the biggest Bordeaux coup to date, with the Chateau Bellefont-Belcier estate in the region’s prestigious Saint Emilion wine producing area (pictured). 

Asia’s rich now outnumber those in both the US and Europe. For high-end banks and other companies, Asia’s growing number of entrepreneurs are a significant source of new business. The FT’s Tom Griggs investigates.

China’s billionaires and millionaires have long suspected that inclusion in China’s Hurun Rich List is bad for business. They worry that a high-profile ranking can often be followed by a high-profile knock on the door from the tax department, or worse.

Now, Chinese academics have published evidence which suggests that the rich are right to be concerned. Hurun-listed entrepreneurs are more likely to be arrested than their unlisted rivals – and, whether or not they are taken away for questioning, the mere fear that they might be can hit their share prices. Moral for investors – sell the listed, buy the unlisted.