Total private wealth held in Dubai is estimated at $517 billion as 35,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) are thought to have migrated to the UAE in the past 20 years.

According to a new report by New World Wealth, Dubai boasts more than 52,000 millionaires, 2,430 multi-millionaires – with net assets of $10 million or more – and 10 billionaires.

Dubai makes up a sizeable chunk of the total private wealth in the Middle East, calculated at $4.3 trillion as of December 2020.

Abu Dhabi hold about $145 billion of private wealth

By comparison, neighbour Abu Dhabi, which holds most of the country’s oil reserves, is estimated to hold about $145 billion of private wealth, with 18,400 millionaires choosing the UAE capital to live, alongside 870 multi-millionaires and three billionaires.

According to New World Wealth, Dubai is the 30th wealthiest city in the world.

The report comes just weeks after Citigroup said its wealth-management business in the UAE plans to triple assets under management to $15 billion over the next five years by increasing the number of its client-relationship managers.

Citibank UAE said it is targeting to quadruple the number of affluent clients in the country.

The New World Wealth report said that the UAE boasts total wealth of $870 billion, adding that the country has attracted over 35,000 HNWIs since the turn of the century, many from India, Africa and other parts of the Middle East due to its safe haven status, excellent healthcare system, low tax rates and good schools.

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The UAE last month approved amendments to its nationality laws to attract more foreign talent to contribute to the country’s “development journey”, another move that could attract more high earners.

Specific categories can acquire Emirati citizenship including investors, doctors, specialists, inventors, scientists and individuals with creative talents such as intellectuals and artists.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudi capital Riyadh is said to hold $135 billion of private wealth out of a total of $542 billion in the Gulf kingdom and is home to three of the eight billionaires in the country while Doha holds $125 billion and Sharjah $21 billion.

Riyadh hold about $135 billion of private wealth out of a total of $542 billion in the Gulf kingdom

Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel, which recently normalised relations with parts of the Gulf region, holds $304 billion of private wealth, driven in part by its technology sector, the report noted.

New World Wealth said wealth per capita (person) was highest in the UAE regionally at $89,000 compared to $71,300 in Qatar and $15,800 in Saudi Arabia.

Why the world’s wealthiest could be tempted to Dubai post-coronavirus

George Azar, chairman and CEO of Dubai-based Luxhabitat Sotheby’s International Realty says increased taxation to pay for Covid-19 aid could see an influx of investors into the emirate

It added that wealth has grown by 24 percent in the UAE over the past decade compared to just three percent in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s largest economy.

The report noted that a decline in crude oil prices has impacted wealth in most countries in the Middle East by 2020. After trading at around $100 between 2011-14, it is currently about half that. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been particularly hit hard due to their dependence on oil revenue, it added.

Doha holds $125 billion of private wealth

Top wealth generating industries in the region, according to New World Wealth, were financial (22 percent), oil and gas (20 percent), real estate and construction (12 percent), transport (8 percent) and hotels and leisure (7 percent).

In the wider Middle East, the report said 390,000 high net worth individuals were currently living in the region alongside 18,200 multi-millionaires, 970 centi-millionaires ($100 million or more) and 75 billionaires.

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