New Zealand now has about 7000 millionaire households, but the country’s rapid growth in personal wealth went into reverse last year.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)’s eighth annual Global Wealth Report said that personal wealth in New Zealand has become more concentrated.

The number of millionaire households — those with at least $US1 million ($NZ1.47m) in assets under management — increased by 6 per cent from 6600 to 7000 in 2007, despite an overall reduction in personal wealth.

Millionaire households accounted for only 0.5 per cent of all households in New Zealand, compared to 2.4 per cent in Australia.

Singapore topped the list with 10.6 per cent of all households controlling assets under management of at least $US1 million.

Worldwide, the number of millionaire households grew by 11.2 per cent to reach 10.7 million.

The study also said that the personal wealth of New Zealanders (measured in local currencies) decreased by 4.8 per cent from $NZ191.3 billion in 2006 to $NZ182.1 billion in 2007.

It was a reversal from the 12.9 per cent growth in the previous year and the average annual growth rate of 6.2 per cent between 2002 and 2007. The leader of BCG’s financial services practice in Australia and New Zealand, Matthew Rogozinski, said the changing fortune of New Zealand investors reflected a weakening economy and declining share prices in 2007.

“The financial crisis has cast a pall over markets this year, leading to further declines in asset values.

“But there are encouraging signs of a turnaround in New Zealand’s savings performance with the success of KiwiSaver, the voluntary retirement savings scheme introduced last year.”

North America and Western Europe accounted for about two-thirds of the world’s wealth in 2007.

“The remaining third — what we call the other third of global wealth — was spread across emerging or less mature markets around the world, where wealth has been growing at much faster rates,” Rogozinski said.

Wealth in Asia-Pacific totalled about $US25.5 trillion in 2007. In Latin America, assets under management reached $US3.1 trillion in 2007. Russia is by far the largest wealth market in Eastern Europe. Its AuM totalled $US950 billion in 2007.