Global Mobility of the Wealthy and their Assets: An Overview – IMC-RP 2018/2


This paper provides an analytical and empirical overview of the mobility of wealthy individuals and mobility of financial assets (offshore wealth) in a context of economic and geopolitical volatility, increased income inequality and high wealth concentration at the top. Main pulling and pushing factors and patterns of offshore wealth deposits are examined using information from investment banks, wealth management offices, international real estate companies and BIS data. The analysis shows a more direct relationship between inequality in the country of origin and offshore wealth than between inequality and HNWI physical mobility although the data for the latter remains scant. Our results also show that in some group of countries with high taxation (e.g. Scandinavian nations) the wealthy hold relatively low percentages of their wealth abroad, a finding which runs against the claim that high taxes always prompt individuals to send their wealth abroad. The data also shows that the direction of mobility of the wealthy and their assets is not only from the periphery of the world economy (low to middle-income nations) to the core (advanced economies) but also within advanced economies.
KEYWORDS: international mobility of the wealthy; offshore wealth; inequality; taxation; investment migration regimes; globalization; crises.

Andrés Solimano President, International Center for Globalization and Development in Santiago, Chile and External Director of the project “The International Mobility of the Wealthy and Global Inequality” at DOC-RI in Berlin, Germany.

Contact: [email protected]. Effective research assistance by Javier Galaz is appreciated. Comments by Dimitry Kochenov, participants at the academic workshop of IMC-Forum 2018 and IMC’s reviewers are greatly appreciated.

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