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London, New York Top Cities for Wealthy: Report

London and New York are still the most important cities for the super-rich despite stiff competition from the emerging economies, a report into attitudes of the wealthy has revealed.

London Bridge
Photo: Chris Hepburn | Getty Images
London Bridge

The Wealth Report 2012 produced by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, which canvasses high net-worth individuals’ (HNWI) attitudes and pulls together data on wealth in key cities, suggests that the combination of quality of life, knowledge and influence and economic activity are the key factors the ultra-wealthy look for.

London took pole position in almost every category as the city that mattered most, with New York second; the report suggested these positions would remain unchanged for the next decade.

Socio-political stability was also seen as significant to high net-worth individuals, given the turbulence in some parts of the globe, as well as personal safety and security, excellent education – the U.S and the UK are home to the leading universities in the world - and luxury housing.

As instability has been the mainstay in some regions over the last twelve months money has flooded into what are perceived as “safer” assets.

London’s prime property market has always had an international flavor with the ease of the English language encouraging foreign buyers.

“This year’s wealth report contains even more evidence that the world’s wealthy are weathering the economic slowdown better than the wider population and nowhere is this better reflected than in prime property markets,” Andrew Shirley, editor of The Wealth Report said.

A new world order has often been mooted as emerging economies continue to make significant economic and social strides.

Talking to CNBC, David Murrin, chief executive officer at Emergent Asset Management, said last year that the Western world was finishedfinancially with an unchangeable power shift from the West to the East taking place.

This is supported somewhat by the shift in economic wealth being generated outside the traditional Western hotspots and a burgeoning middle class in these countries keen to tap into the material and consumer wealth that come with it.

Luxury brands have boomed as demand was driven up in the last couple of years.

Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai have undergone extensive economic transformations but are still hampered by a notion that freedom, democracy and a fair and transparent judicial system are lacking, according to the report.

All of the above did however manage to knock Paris down to seventh place.

“Wealthy individuals and families, especially those originating from Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia have become extraordinarily global in nature. Many seek the rule of law and stability that make the UK a top investment choice for investment. The global wealthy have confidently focused their interest on London and the wealth preservation it can afford,” said Luigi Pigorini, CEO Citi Private Bank EMEA.