Global wealth hit $241 trillion, but distribution skewed

Global wealth hits $241 trillion: Credit Suisse
Global wealth hits $241 trillion: Credit Suisse

Global wealth has hit a record high of $241 trillion, seeing a 68 percent boost over the past 10 years, but the distribution of all that money is "vastly different", a Credit Suisse CIO told CNBC on Friday.

The average wealth per adult also hit an all-time high of $51,600. Switzerland topped the list of average wealth per adult totaling $513,000, followed by Australia and Norway at $403,000 and $380,000 respectively, according to the annual Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse.

"The distribution is vastly different," Mike O'Sullivan, chief investment officer, UK and EEMEA at Credit Suisse told CNBC. The top richest 1 percent of people own 46 percent of global assets.

The U.S. overtook Europe and Asia-Pacific in terms of total net wealth gaining $8.4 trillion from mid-2012, driven by a recovery in house prices and a bull equity market.

Wealth is expected to rise by nearly 40 percent in the next five years, reaching $334 trillion by 2018, and emerging market wealth generation is expected to outpace the developed world.

(Read more: Where are the ultra-rich finding their next home?)

"Our research shows that global wealth has doubled since 2000, quite compelling given some of the economic challenges of the last decade. We expect this trend to continue in the foreseeable future, driven largely by Emerging Markets' strong economic growth and rising population levels," O'Sullivan said in a statement.

A 22 percent depreciation of the yen against the greenback led to a household wealth in Japan dropping 20.5 percent to $22.6 trillion. The total wealth in Asia-Pacific took a hit as a result dropping 3.7 percent to $73.9.

The euro zone saw a resurgence of wealth over the past year with rising equity prices and favorable euro-dollar movements that helped recover the heavy losses experienced 12 months earlier during the height of the region's financial crisis.

The number of millionaires worldwide has risen by nearly two million since mid-2012, the vast majority of them in the U.S., according to the report. The number of global millionaires could exceed 47 million in 2018, a rise of nearly 16 million, with China potentially seeing its number double by 2018.

—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal