Ultra-rich list: 45% of Mideast’s wealthiest live in Saudi Arabia, UAE

Combined wealth of region’s 6,000 richest people is close to $1 trillion

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Almost half of the Middle East’s 6,000 richest individuals live in Saudi Arabia or the UAE, with their combined wealth amounting to $995 million, a new study has found.

There are 1,495 ultra-wealthy individuals – defined as those with more than $30 million in net assets – living in Saudi Arabia, with a combined fortune of $320 billion, according to Wealth-X research.

In the UAE there are 1,275 such individuals, worth a combined $255 billion, representing 20 percent of the total ultra wealthy population in the Middle East.

The wealth-intelligence organization said that 57 percent of the UAE’s ‘ultra-high net worth’ (UHNW) individuals amassed their fortune through entrepreneurship. Only 8 percent inherited all of their fortunes, with 35 percent partially inheriting, and then growing their wealth. Only 3 percent of the UAE’s UHNW population made its wealth through oil, gas and consumable fuels, the study noted.

There are nearly 6,000 UHNW individuals in the Middle East with a combined net worth of $995 billion, Wealth-X said. Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly account for over 45 percent of the UHNW population in the Middle East, it added.

Saudi Arabia is ranked 17th in Wealth-X’s global ranking of UHNW population by country, with the UAE placing 22nd on the list.

“Despite the UAE equity market suffering declines of nearly 20% in the last year, our study shows that UHNW individuals in the country have defied this economic backdrop to record further increases in their fortunes in 2015, highlighting the ability of the world's wealthiest individuals to continue to create new wealth,” said David Awit, Wealth-X Director for the Middle East, in a statement.

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