Large fortunes took advantage of the stock market rally to increase their wealth by 27.5% between May and July, reaching a new high of 10.2 trillion dollars (8.7 trillion euros), after the impact of the pandemic and the containment measures implemented would have caused its assets to fall by 6.6% between March 2019 and April 2020, to 8 trillion dollars (6.8 trillion euros), according to a study prepared by UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Likewise, while, in just a few weeks between March and April, coinciding with the imposition of confinement and social distancing measures, the number of billionaires fell by 43 individuals, to 2,058 great fortunes, in the following months the figure grew again with strength, until reaching a new record of 2,189 billionaires, up from 2,158 recorded in 2017.
The authors of the report underline “the great polarization” between the fortunes of the richest as a result of the impact of the pandemic, with sectors such as industry and technology, with gains of 44.4% and 41.3%, respectively, since April, as the most benefited by the recovery in ‘V’ of the markets, in contrast to the increases of 12.8% and 13.2% between financial services and the ‘brick’.
In this sense, between 2018 and the first seven months of 2020, the wealth of technology billionaires grew by 42.5%, to 1.8 trillion dollars (1.5 trillion euros) driven by the rally of the shares of the sector, while the wealthy in the health sector saw their wealth grow by 50.3%, to 658.6 billion dollars (560.313 million euros) in the race to discover new drugs and medical innovations.
In contrast, the group of billionaires saw their wealth grow only 19.1% since 2018, to 10.2 trillion dollars, with an increase of 10% or less in segments such as leisure, financial services or real estate.
“It is a time of accelerated changes, reflected in the polarization of billionaires’ fortunes”, the study points out, referring to the very different evolution of fortunes depending on the sectors of origin, with those “on the wrong side” of the economy, technology and social and environmental trends being less and less wealthy.
“Covid-19 has accelerated this trend dramatically. Weathering the storm, innovative billionaires were able to make decisive progress in increasing their wealth, while that of others fell,” the study warns.
Thus, the billionaires identified in the study as innovators and disruptors saw their fortunes grow an average of 17% since 2018, to 5.3 trillion dollars (4.5 trillion euros), while the traditional rich increased their wealth 6% in the same period of time, up to 3.7 trillion dollars (3.1 trillion euros).