UBS/PwC Billionaire report reveals women outpace men

UBS Group AG and PwC have launched their joint deep dive report, “The changing faces of billionaires,” which explores the role of women in building lasting financial legacies and how wealth is preserved across multiple generations.

The report’s findings, which build upon UBS/PwC’s 2015 Billionaires Report released last May, “Master architects of great wealth and lasting legacies,” revealed that the number of female billionaires is growing faster than the number of their male counterparts. Women have been controlling greater average wealth than men and becoming more influential in family businesses, philanthropic enterprises and governance. The report also highlights the fleeting nature of great wealth, finding that only 126 billionaires or 44% of the class of 1995 are billionaires today. It underscores the strategies these prevailing billionaires have employed to build and preserve lasting legacies.

Commenting on the report Josef Stadler, Head Global Ultra High Net Worth, UBS said:

“The rise of female and Asian billionaires over the last two decades is creating an entirely new billionaire demographic, and I see no signs of slowing. While there is no such thing as a typical billionaire, virtually all are focused on building a lasting legacy for future generations. Achieving this goal increasingly requires strategic thought and long-term planning.

Michael Spellacy, Global Wealth Leader at PwC US:

“The report suggests that we need to revisit the old saying ‘The first generation builds the business, the second makes it a success, and the third wrecks it’. Our findings reveal that it is in fact the second generation that all too often undermines the value of the business the first generation created. To prevent this, business decisions must move from the kitchen table to the board room.”

Key findings from “The changing faces of billionaires” report include:

The ‘Athena’ Factor

The number of female billionaires is growing faster than male billionaires – multiplying by 6.6x over the last two decades compared to 5.2x for men, with Asian female entrepreneurs standing out as the main driver of this development. Asia has seen the strongest growth of female billionaires in the past 10 years, their numbers grew by a factor of 8.8 from only 3 to 25 today. This compares to a growth factor of 2.7 (from 21 to 57) in Europe and 1.7 or 37 to 63 in the US.

Female billionaires in Asia make up almost one fifth of the global female billionaire population and generally are younger than their global counterparts. By contrast, in Europe and America, females are mostly multi-generational billionaires (93% Europe, 81% US); however, they are also playing much stronger roles than previous generations within their families.