Wealth – and the number of wealthy people – declined over the past year. Unsurprisingly, the worldwide recession that has hammered portfolios has caused the number of millionaires in the world to fall. Those that remain generally aren't as rich as they used to be. Among those dethroned is the entirety of North America, which now lags Europe in assets under management.
A study by Boston Consulting Group, Delivering on the Client Promise: Global Wealth 2009, finds that wealth declined by 11.7 percent globally to $92.4 trillion in 2008, from $104.7 trillion the year before. Last year was the first in which assets under management fell in nearly 10 years. The lost money, of course, is not gone for ever. Just wait patiently for the next six years, BCG says, as that's how long it will take for world wealth to reach 2007 levels.