• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Millionaires on the move: Where are the world’s wealthy migrating to and from in 2024?

Nigeria to lose 300 dollar millionaires this year

The world’s millionaires are finding new ways and new places to spend money and they are doing it outside their countries, according to a wealth migration report.

In 2024, global economies are expected to witness the biggest movement of millionaires yet, which will see many countries lose their wealthiest and others, multiply their numbers.

According to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Report of 2024 released by Henley and Partners, approximately 128,000 millionaires and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are projected to migrate to a new country in 2024. This figure represents a 13-year high from 2013 when 51 thousand HNWIs relocated out of their countries.

These high-net-worth individuals possess a liquid investable wealth of $1 million or more.

Since 2013, there has been a steady growth trajectory of millionaires migration, halted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 which also hindered data tracking. However, Wealth migration recovered rapidly in 2022 with record migration flows in 2023.

The growth is expected to continue. Henley estimates migration numbers to rise to 135,000 by 2025.


Who are the losers?

Since 2013, there has been an increase of over 150 per cent in HNWIs relocating for purposes of investment, favourable tax regimes, or personal and professional security.

At the bottom of the food chain is China whose HNWIs continue to leave for its economic rivals, as President Xi Jinping’s tight control over the economy persists.

China has been the top remitter of millionaires for years and is expected to lose 15,200 more by the close of 2024, 12 per cent more than the previous year.


The United Kingdom is also losing the wealth migration tug-of-war. The territory is expected to see an unprecedented net loss of 9,500 millionaires in 2024, more than double the 4,200 who left last year, which was itself record-breaking.

This loss has been largely attributed to policy decisions by Britain’s government.

According to the report, which analysed how geopolitical instability fuels millionaire migration, “Brexit continues to exert a negative impact on travel and investment while the London Stock Exchange is slipping against its competitors in New York, Singapore, and even elsewhere in Europe. Negative headlines about the state of Britain’s aging infrastructure, notably its sewage, transport, and health systems, have not helped.”

Additionally, the abolishment of the non-dom status has spooked high-net-worth individuals, who are displeased with the ruling which poaches a long-standing policy of the opposition Labour Party.

Ironically, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, and Portugal, which run similar policies to the non-dom status, have managed to retain and attract the wealthiest.

In India, things are not looking good but could shape up. The country, which is famous for high rates of migration worldwide also spills its millionaires to the West, especially to Australia and the USA, which offer juicy incentives and investment opportunities for wealthy Indians.

In 2023, the country lost over 5,200 millionaires, but the number is estimated to drop in 2024 owing to political altercations that could sever international relations.

Notably, Henley reports that Nigeria is the ninth-largest remitter of millionaires worldwide. The number of HNWIs living in Africa’s most populated is down 45 per cent over the past decade, making it the worst-performing market in Africa over this period.

300 millionaires and high-net-worth individuals are estimated to leave the West African country in 2024, the same number recorded in 2023.

According to the report, high-net-worth families choose to relocate for a range of reasons that include, “safety and security, financial concerns, taxes and retirement, work and business opportunities, lifestyle factors, including climate, nature, and scenery, schooling and education opportunities for their children, healthcare system and standard of living.”

In Nigeria, “religious tensions, high crime rates, and currency weakness” weigh heavily on Nigeria.

Recent decisions by Nigeria’s federal government coupled with the descent of the Naira has also proven to scare high-net-worth individuals who Henley says are partly entrepreneurs and investors, including multiple Western multinationals who have exited Nigeria by selling their stakes, scaling down, or transferring ownership– the most recent being the sale of beverage company Diageo’s 58 per cent share in Guinness Nigeria to Tolaram Group on June 11, 2024.

Popular destinations for millionaires leaving Nigeria include the UAE, the UK, and South Africa, including several countries in Europe.

Who are the winners?

For the third year running, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to lead as the world’s biggest wealth magnet, with a record 6,700 millionaire migrants expected to make the Emirates home by the end of the year.

The UAE has consistently made top choices for Russian and Indian millionaires on the move for years. In 2024, large inflows of millionaires are also expected to come from the UK and other parts of Europe.

“Although the outflow of wealthy Russians has dropped dramatically since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, many of those who do leave find their way to the UAE. The Emirates has a powerful attraction to Indian high-net-worth individuals as well, as the two economies have long enjoyed close relations,” the report read.

The UAE is expected to attract nearly twice as many incoming investors as its nearest rival, the United States, who attract the most moneyed migrants among the advanced industrial nations.

According to the report, the US accommodates the highest millionaires, centi-millionaires and billionaires with one of the highest millionaire growth since 2013, compared to its European counterparts.

Henley reports that an estimated 3,800 individuals seeking to invest a million dollars or more are projected to arrive in the US this year, according to Wall Street which has begun to register record gains.

But the US does not have it easy. Its top spot is contested by Canada, where the net high-net-worth-individual inflow this year is estimated to be 3,200, and Singapore which might expect 3,500 moneyed Migrants this year.

“Given that the USA is almost 17 times the size of its northern neighbor, Canada would appear to offer significant advantages to potential investors,” the wealth migration report says.

Notably, nine of the top ten countries attracting the most millionaires in 2024 have formal investment migration programs and actively encourage foreign direct investment in return for residence or citizenship rights.

What is being won?

Millionaire migration is a leading indicator of the overall health of a country and its economy, especially on the outflow side, says New World Wealth.

“For instance, if a country is losing large numbers of millionaires to migration, it is probably due to serious problems in that country. It can also be a negative sign for the future, as wealthy people are often the first to leave,” it says.

The benefits of this migration of wealth and talent into a country are wide-ranging and cut across sectors.

Migrating millionaires are a vital source of forex revenue as they tend to bring their money with them when they move to a new country.

“For instance, a migrant who brings USD 10 million with them is equivalent to a country generating USD 10 million in export revenue as both transactions generate USD 10 million of forex revenue for the country.”

Also, about 20 per cent of relocating high-net-worth individuals, are entrepreneurs and company founders, who often start businesses in their new country and therefore create local employment. This percentage rises to over 60 per cent for centi-millionaires and billionaires.

Millionaires have also proven to boost the local stock market with equity investments. If comfortable enough, some high-net-worth business owners publicly list their companies on the local stock exchange.

“Perhaps most importantly, high-net-worth individuals indirectly create thousands of well-paying jobs via their spending power, especially in high-value sectors such as luxury hotels, fine dining, luxury retail, fashion, hi-tech, automotive, prime property, wealth management, and family offices.”