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8. Switzerland

Billionaire count: 57
Total wealth: $125 billion

Known as the playground of the rich and famous, Switzerland is eighth in the global billionaire sweepstakes and ranks seventh as the home of those worth $30 million and more, or the ultra-wealthy.

Switzerland’s billionaires represent the top one percent of its 5,597 ultra-wealthy population and control more than 19 percent of the total fortune of this group. On average, these billionaires are worth $2.2 billion each.

Despite Europe as a whole seeing a decline in its ultra-wealthy population, Switzerland’s rich grew more than 7 percent. Their combined wealth increased more than 3 percent year-over-year. The country’s favorable tax and privacy laws have attracted a number of ultra-rich people, who keep their money there even though they don’t permanently live in the country. Such individuals made up more than 18 percent of Switzerland’s ultra-wealthy population.

Other factors contributing to the increase in wealth in Switzerland was a 15 percent rise in its equity markets in the 12 months ending July 31 2012, outweighing limited economic growth of 1.9 percent in 2011, according to Wealth-X. Those gains, however, were capped by the fall in the Swiss franc, which declined more than 24 percent in that period.

(Pictured left: Berne, Switzerland)

Photo: Ingolf Pompe | LOOK-foto