Wealthy Aussies (?)

While working for the Australian arm of global life insurer AIA, I started being exposed to the world of a superannuation provider. AIA provided group life insurance, either under a corporate scheme or under a superannuation scheme. Part of my work was to review policies and administration agreements for these schemes. Thus the world of fund choices, default funds, default cover, guarantees of contributions or claims and such other wonderfully stimulating and colourful concepts peppered my life. The deadening and grey (as in dull) subject matters are probably closer to the truth. What I discovered however, was how even wealth distribution was (is) in Australia. There would always be a small number of outrageously wealthy people but by and large, lots of people shared in the wealth this country offers, in quite an evenly distributed way.

My last 1½ years of my present role in a behemoth superannuation administrator concern, has cemented that view. I see even more clearly, how even that distribution is.

The following short story on The Australian just came on. Interesting…


Aussies top world’s wealthiest per capita, Credit-Suisse report finds

Andrew Main, The Australian – October 09, 2013 1:45PM

AUSTRALIANS are per capita the wealthiest people in the world on a median basis, according to a report released today by Zurich-based bank Credit Suisse.

Our wealth is also more evenly distributed across the population, the report said, although we have a well above average reliance on real estate which forms 59 per cent of gross household assets. That’s second only to Norway.

The report found that our mean wealth per adult is just over $US400,000 each, second only to Switzerland, and that there are 1.12 million people in Australia classed as US dollar millionaires, although that number includes all net assets including housing and superannuation.

The median wealth number of Australia is $US219,505 per person, the highest in the world. The median number in any range is the middle one whereas the mean is the average of all. The fact that Australia tops the median number is a reflection of the fact that Australian wealth is more equally distributed that in some other countries such as Switzerland, said David McDonald, chief investment strategist Australia for Credit Suisse Private Banking.

”The top ten per cent of Australians own 50 per cent of the wealth,” he said, “which compares with the top 10 per cent around the world owning an average of 86 per cent and the top ten per cent in the US owning 74 per cent.”

The report, compiled out of Europe, said that there are 1.76 million Australians who are in the top one per cent of global wealth holders, accounting for 3.8 per cent of that group despite this country having only 0.4 per cent of the world’s adult population.