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Wealth in the US: Sizing the Market Opportunity

Wealth in the US: Sizing the Market Opportuni


The US is home to the largest affluent population in the world and hosts a very advanced financial services sector, including the most sophisticated mutual fund and equity markets globally. The large affluent population is financially literate with high retail participation in both equities and mutual funds. US wealth managers thus have a lucrative target market onshore. In the future, growth in the affluent population’s liquid assets will be pronounced compared to other developed economies. At the end of 2015, nearly two thirds of the US adult population was considered affluent, making the US home to the largest affluent population in the world. This compares very favorably to Western Europe, the second-largest wealth market in the world, where only 20.1% of the population is considered affluent.

Key Findings

  • High net worth (HNW) individuals account for 1.8% of the US population, and their numbers are expected to swell by nearly 7% year-on-year to 2019. Ultra-high net worth individuals (those with over $10m in assets) are expected to increase by over 10%.
  • The US retail investments market remains buoyant, but growth slowed significantly throughout 2014 and 2015, largely due to outflows of equities following a bumper year for the stock market in 2013. Against an uncertain economic backdrop, bonds are already bouncing back and are predicted to record 4% year-on-year growth to 2019.
  • HNW individuals are now allocating 28.1% of their investible assets outside of traditional investments, with hedge funds the most popular alternative option in 2015 and private equity a relatively close second.
  • Offshore investment continues to decrease (now at 6.1%) following the onset of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), with client anonymity and tax efficiency the key drivers.

Verdict Financial’s “Wealth in the US: Sizing the Market Opportunity” analyzes the American wealth and retail savings and investments markets, with a focus on the HNW segment. The report is based on our proprietary datasets.

Specifically the report:
  • Sizes the affluent market (both by the number of individuals and value of their liquid assets) using our proprietary datasets.
  • Analyzes which asset classes are favored by American retail investors and how their preferences impact the growth of the total savings and investments market.
  • Examines HNW clients’ attitudes towards non-liquid investments such as hedge funds, property, and commodities.
  • Identifies key drivers and booking centers for offshore investments by HNW clients.
Reasons To Buy
  • Benchmark your share of the US wealth market against the current size of the market.
  • Forecast your future growth prospects using our projections for the market to 2019.
  • Identify your most promising client segment by analyzing penetration of affluent individuals in the US.
  • Evaluate your HNW proposition by understanding how FATCA is affecting your HNW clients.
  • Review your offshore strategy by learning HNW motivations for offshore investments and their preferred booking centers.

  • Executive Summary
    • Key findings
    • Critical success factors
  • Sizing and Forecasting the US Wealth Market
    • Affluent individuals in the US account for nearly two thirds of the adult population
      • HNW investors account for 1.8% of the market, and the very rich will get richer
    • Overall growth of total liquid assets has been highly variable in recent years
      • Wealth held by affluent investors has risen robustly, providing wealth managers with ample opportunities
      • US HNW individuals hold over one third of total liquid assets, a share that will rise
  • Drivers of Growth in the US Wealth Market
    • 2015 saw growth stagnate, and this is unlikely to change over the next five years
      • The US market is heavily weighted towards equity and mutual funds
      • The bond market will rise again, but the market will remain weighted to mutual funds and equities
    • Deposits will see slightly slower but steadier growth, supported by benign inflation and higher interest rates
      • A moderate rise in inflation and small interest rate hikes will have little effect on the deposit market
      • GDP growth is also unlikely to strongly affect deposit allocations, especially if there is no real wage upturn on the horizon to kick-start consumer spending
    • Bonds, equities, and mutual funds are more closely aligned with the fortunes of the stock market
      • The US stock market has struggled to add value in recent years and has had a rough start to 2016
      • Retail bonds are set to grow significantly in 2016 as the effects of QE and the zero interest rate policy diminish
      • The performance of the stock market also has a direct impact on equities and mutual funds
  • HNW Investment Preferences
    • HNW individuals allocate 28.1% of their investible assets outside of traditional investments
      • Hedge funds are the most popular HNW illiquid asset
    • HNW individuals hold 6.1% of their assets offshore
      • Client anonymity and tax efficiency are the biggest drivers of offshore investment
        • Table Income tax rates and income bands for 2016
      • The UK and Japan are now the most popular booking centers for US HNW individuals
    • Abbreviations and acronyms
    • Supplementary data
      • Table US: number of affluent individuals by asset band (00s), 2011-15
      • Table US: number of affluent individuals by asset band (00s), 2016e-19f
      • Table US: value of liquid assets held by affluent individuals by asset band (Sbn), 2011-15
      • Table US: value pf liquid assets held by affluent individuals by asset band (Sbn), 2016-19f
    • Definitions
      • Affluent
      • Bonds
      • Cash
      • Deposits
      • Domicile
      • Equities
      • Exchange of information
      • FATCA
      • HNW
      • Liquid assets
      • Mass affluent
      • Mutual funds
      • Onshore
      • Residency
    • Methodology
      • Verdict Financial's 2015 Global Wealth Managers Survey
      • Global Retail Investments Analytics methodology
    • Bibliography
    • Further reading
    • About Verdict Financial
    • Disclaimer

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