The number of female billionaires rises sevenfold in 20 years

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The number of female billionaires around the world has increased sevenfold in the past two decades, according to a report.

UBS’ billionaire survey revealed that the growth in female billionaires has outstripped that of their male counterparts, who have grown by the smaller factor of 5.2.

Men still dominate the rankings, but women now take 145 places versus the 22 they occupied in 1995.

“Although female billionaires remain a minority, the growing opportunities for women to accumulate wealth suggests female entrepreneurs will drive significant growth in the number of billionaire women,” the report said.

Asia has seen the greatest growth in both the number of female billionaires in the last 10 years and the number of self-made female billionaires, UBS added.

That has helped take the total number of Asian female billionaires to 25 – one fifth of the global female billionaire population.

The report also revealed that all billionaires have managed to increase their wealth at a quicker rate than that of GDP growth.

Over the last two decades, global GDP has almost tripled from $30 trillion to over $77 trillion. But the wealth of billionaires in the study has increased almost eightfold, from $0.7 trillion in 1995 to $5.4 trillion in 2014.

It may not be a case of “once a billionaire, always a billionaire”, however. Only 126 of the 289 billionaires on the list in 1995 are still on it today.


Total wealth of all billionaires

Of the class of 1995, 66 have died, 24 fortunes have been lost through family dilution and a further 73 have disappeared due to business problems and other reasons.

“With the increased complexity of regulations and taxes and two-thirds of billionaires over age 60, sustaining legacies may be the most difficult and immediate challenge for today’s billionaires,” the report said.

UBS, which offers wealth-management services, tallied 1,347 billionaires from around the world in the study but declined to name any of them.

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December 15, 2015 |
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