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Where Billionaires See Big Investment Opportunities in the Next 5 Years

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The world’s billionaires see the energy sector and the Asia-Pacific region, excluding China, as top investment and business opportunities over the next five years, according to a new

UBS

report.

Forty-four percent of billionaires selected energy out of 21 possible choices, according to the UBS report, which summarizes the results of a survey of 50 billionaires. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed by the Swiss bank picked the Asia-Pacific area as a region with big opportunities over the next five years. 


Johannes Gerhardus Swanepoel/Dreamstime

John Mathews, UBS’ head of private wealth management and ultrahigh-net-worth wealth management in the U.S., observes that while a lot of investments focused on China over the past 20 years, more investors are now eyeing opportunities in other Asian countries such as India. 

“There’s so much momentum happening in that part of the world,” he says. It “doesn’t come without risk, obviously. But if you follow the demographic wave, that’s part of why there is so much interest in that part of the world.”

Indeed, the UBS report says the ranks of India’s billionaires grew, as did their wealth. India had 166 billionaires in March 2022, up from 140 the previous year, according to the UBS report. Billionaire wealth in India rose 25.7% to $749.8 billion.

Worldwide, there were 2,668 billionaires whose combined wealth stood at $12.7 trillion in March, down from 2,755 individuals and $13.1 trillion a year earlier. UBS attributed the decline to market volatility and a drop in asset prices. The U.S. is home to approximately one-third of all billionaires, according to the report. 

Billionaires listed geopolitics and inflation as their biggest concerns, according to the UBS report. 

Values and wealth. Most billionaires surveyed—95%—said they believed they should use their wealth and/or resources to address global challenges such as climate change, lack of quality education, and poverty, and more than two-thirds said it was their responsibility to “lead the way” in these efforts.

As billionaires assess those challenges, there’s now a stronger desire among them to participate directly in efforts to tackle them, rather than relying on, say, environmental, social, and government, or ESG, funds.

More than 40% of billionaires surveyed by the Swiss bank see so-called smart agriculture as a key area where they can make a big impact with direct participation. Smart agriculture involves using technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence to boost the quantity and quality of crops.  

Being able to measure the benefits of impact investing is a concern for the super wealthy, according to the UBS report. More than a third of those surveyed don’t think impact investments are sufficiently well established. Some are also keenly aware of the limits of what they can accomplish on their own.

“Billionaires know there are certain things they can do in terms of innovating and scaling up innovation,” says Maximilian Kunkel, chief investment officer of global family and institutional wealth at UBS. But they’re also aware there are other areas where governments need to take the lead, he says.

Write to Andrew Welsch at andrew.welsch@barrons.com

Credit: marketwatch.com

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