For a growing number of millionaires across the globe, it’s a case of take their money and run – to Australia. One in four millionaires in the world plans to emigrate this year and their top destination is Down Under, according to the latest wealth report by international property consultancy Knight Frank.
About 108,000 millionaires left their countries for good in 2018, a 14 per cent increase from the year prior, and more than double the level in 2013, says a survey by global market research group New World Wealth, which reaffirms that Australia is drawing more high-net-worth people than any other country in the world.
Observers say that Australia tops the wish-lists for millionaire migrants for a host of reasons, including a clean environment, national stability, no inheritance tax, good schools and healthcare, and strong business ties to Asia. Australia’s millionaire count has soared 85 per cent over the past decade, mostly because of the property boom that peaked in 2017 and a fairly robust economy that sidestepped the GFC. But the total is also increasingly due to the number of rich people settling on our shores.
This still doesn’t explain why millionaires are exiting their homelands in the first place. About 3000 millionaires departed the UK last year, a reversal of three decades in which Britain – and London in particular – was a magnet for high-net-worth individuals. The economically damaging exodus is blamed on the convulsions of Brexit and the number of companies that have already flown the English coop to continental Europe. About 4000 millionaires left Turkey last year, and about 7000 millionaires left Russia, a reflection of the growing economic and social turbulence in those countries. Because the rich are usually the first to jump ship when their country is on a downward trajectory – unlike working- and middle-class folk who don’t have the means to re-establish themselves – the millionaire migration could be seen as an ominous sign that storm clouds are appearing on the international horizon.
While a greater number of millionaires is good for the national economy, they’re also part of a trend of Australia’s rich getting richer: the top 1 per cent of Australians already possess more capital than the bottom 70 per cent combined.