Richest Indians’ love of equities dwarfs rest of world

MUMBAI • Wealthy Indians are buying stocks hand over first, eclipsing the strong appetite for equities seen across the world, according to a Knight Frank study.

Some 95% of India’s population with net assets of US$50 million (RM200 million) or more lifted their holdings in the 12 months through October, compared to the 62% global average, the analysis showed. At the same time, they shunned historically favoured assets from property to gold, which ranked among the investments seeing the smallest allocation increase for India’s rich.

Equities have been a great choice — the global index is up 17% over the past year and India’s Sensex is 14% higher.

The allure of gold and property has faded following the government’s crackdown on unaccounted wealth back in 2016.

Once Asia’s top real estate market, India has witnessed a sharp fall in sales following the cash ban, new consumer protection laws and the roll-out of a nationwide sales tax.

India’s ultra-wealthy population, defined as those with net assets of US$500 million or more, grew 18% between 2016-2017, compared to an 11% rise globally, according to Knight Frank’s annual wealth report released on Wednesday.

By the end of 2022, those in that super-rich category will have swelled to 340 people, a 70% jump, the report estimated. — Bloomberg