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June 2008

"Untold Wealth: Rise of the Super Rich" on CNBC Tonight

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Tonight at 10PM EST, CNBC is premiering their documentary, Untold Wealth: Rise of the Super Rich. (If you miss it tonight, they'll be re-airing it on Sunday, June 29th at 10 PM EST).

Here's the mini-site promoting the show, where you can watch the preview, view video clips and slide shows, and skim the fast facts, like these:

  • In 1985 there were only 13 billionaires in the U.S. Today there are more than 1,000.
  • The richest 1% of Americans control more than 33% of the total wealth, their wealth is now greater than the bottom 90% of Americans. (Federal Reserve Surveys of Consumer Finance.
  • Who makes millions and billions? Entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers, private equity partners, real estate developers and corporate executives.
  • 80 percent of the people with a net worth exceeding $30 million say they plan to spend more in 2008 than they did in 2007. (Prince Associates)

Looks like it might be worth watching.


Asian Mass Affluent Going Global

It is no secret that the "dragon" economies of East Asia have led to a growing class of affluent in the region.  What might not be so obvious is that they are becoming increasingly mobile and international too. 

Citibank released a press release yesterday, highlighting some of these trends, and of course their response to them.  Among the interesting tidbits:

  • The mass affluent segment in Asia Pacific is growing about 15% on an annual basis (and Citibank already serves over 400,000 Citigold clients in Asia Pacific (ex Japan) with its wealth management group)
  • A new trend of circular movement is emerging with people working in one country for a 1-2 year period and then moving on, either to another country or back home
  • There is also a rapidly growing trend of Asia Pacific executives and professionals taking on additional job responsibilities that result in short- or long-term expatriate or overseas assignments
  • Asia Pacific consumers today are gradually being viewed as the dominant and most powerful demographic in the travel and financial sectors

According to Ajay Kashyap, Citi Global Consumer Group Asia Pacific Head of the Affluent Segment:

"Today we live in a global village. As the world gets smaller, the needs of affluent clients get bigger. When people move from country to country, they may often get frustrated when they lose their 'home' banking relationship, their credit history, and easy access to their accounts from anywhere in the world. Citi understands that situation, which is why we developed a global 'passport" through Citigold Global Banking to address our clients needs anytime, anywhere...Our Citigold clients lead busy lives and they expect transactions, particularly cross-border financial transactions, to be faster, safer and more convenient than ever before."

In essence Citi is building a service infrastructure for its increasing mobile affluent clients, with the goal of CONSISTENTLY delivering the service they expect, regardless of where they might be.  After all, a brand is just a promise, and delivering on that promise is the first step to a happy client. 

What are the expectations of the affluent buyers and sellers you're working with, and what does YOUR brand promise? 


$232 Million - A New World Record?

Though the status of the deal is yet to be confirmed, it is being widely reported that  Lakshmi Mittal is preparing to drop £ 117 Million (USD $232 Million) on a home for his son in London's Kensington Palace Gardens neighborhood. Forbes pegs Lakshmi Mittal as the fourth richest person in the world, with an estimated personal net worth of $45 billion.  The current owner is hedge fund manager Noam Gottesman.  As one might expect, Lakshmi's son Aditya Mittal is all smiles.

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If true, this would be the most expensive home ever sold in London and the world.

(Thanks to Sharon for the head's-up on this one!)