It's an elusive sum: $ 20,000,000,000,000. That's $ 20,000 billion or $ 20 trillion. That is how much private wealth Germans have. This has been determined by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In its current “Global Wealth Report”, which will be published this Thursday, BCG compiles the figures from private banks and asset managers every year. For the first time, however, these not only include financial assets, i.e. cash, account balances, shares, fund shares and life insurance, but also tangible assets such as real estate, cars, jewelery, works of art and gold. These real assets, according to BCG's findings, are greater in aggregate than the financial assets dormant in private accounts, and amounted to $ 13 trillion in 2020.That is 5 percent more than the year before. The main reason for this is likely to be the rise in property prices.

Johannes Ritter

Correspondent for politics and business in Switzerland.

  • Follow I follow

    But private financial assets also did well: According to the study, they climbed 6 percent to $ 9 trillion.

    After deducting the debts of 2.4 trillion dollars, the Germans have total assets of around 20 trillion dollars.

    In the rest of the world, too, private wealth reached new record highs last year.

    Overall, they climbed 8 percent to $ 431 trillion.

    However, this surprised the experts at Boston Consulting.

    A year ago, due to the global economic downturn as a result of the corona pandemic, they had expected that financial assets would decline in 2020.

    Corona encourages saving

    In an interview with journalists in Zurich, BCG partner Anna Zakrzewski attributed the fact that things have now turned out differently to the surprisingly strong recovery of the stock markets after the slump in March last year. Overall, the courses have risen by more than 12 percent in the course of the year. Nobody expected that in the spring of a year ago. Zakrzewski named savings behavior as a further reason for the rise in wealth. “During the pandemic, people had fewer opportunities to spend money. So the savings accumulated. ”This is especially true for the Germans, who put an above-average amount of money on the high edge in an international comparison. "Traditionally, Germans prefer to invest in real estate rather than in securities",said Zakrzewski with a view to the share of real assets in total assets of almost 60 percent.

    In the BCG ranking of the countries in which the largest private assets are located, Germany ranks fourth. The top positions are taken by the United States ($ 126 trillion), China (72) and Japan (28). Great Britain follows in fifth place with just under 16 trillion dollars. America is also home to by far the most millionaires and the most ultra-rich (see graphic). The latter each have private financial assets of more than $ 100 million. Boston Consulting has identified around 2,900 of these super-rich in Germany.

    The study authors do not name any names. But according to the relevant ranking lists, which are partly based on mere estimates, the Aldi owners Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht jr. the richest Germans. Forbes magazine estimates their assets - mostly tied up in the company - at a good 41 billion dollars. Logistics entrepreneur Klaus-Michael Kühne and Lidl founder Dieter Schwarz follow in second and third place with around 34 billion dollars each. These entrepreneurs are of course still a long way from the ultra-rich who are at the top internationally: The French Bernard Arnault, majority owner of the luxury goods group LVMH, is currently the richest person on earth with an estimated fortune of around 190 billion dollars.Shortly behind him is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($ 186 billion) followed by Tesla boss Elon Musk (152).

    BCG estimates that private wealth around the world will grow by an average of just under 5 percent annually to $ 544 trillion by 2025. The biggest boost is expected to come from Asia (excluding Japan), where wealth, especially in China, has been growing much faster for years than elsewhere. The study authors expect the People's Republic to be more ultra-rich than the United States by the end of this decade. For private assets in Germany, Boston Consulting predicts an increase from 4 billion to almost 24 billion dollars by 2025. Of that, $ 11 billion is in financial assets.

    For asset managers, these prospects offer good business opportunities, said Zakrzewski. In order to use this, however, the consultants would have to look at the market through a new lens. Instead of leaning most customers together, the banks would have to proceed in a more differentiated manner and respond more to their respective needs. In this sense, those customers who “only” had financial assets between $ 100,000 and $ 3 million have so far been criminally neglected. In Germany there are 18 million people who should be looked after inexpensively via digital channels and at the same time individually via personal contact, instead of just selling standard products from their own range.