The fortune of billionaires hits records with the Covid-19 pandemic

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The fortunes of the “super-rich” increased by more than a quarter at the height of the crisis, in April, to stand at $ 10.2 trillion. The bosses of technological or innovative companies like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk have considerably increased their wealth.

Social distancing, teleworking, the end of large gatherings … temporarily or not, the health crisis has transformed our world. But some data does not change: the very rich remain very rich. According to a UBS study, the fortunes of billionaires “are doing wonderfully”, after an increase of more than a quarter to some 10,200 billion dollars, between April and July – at the height of the crisis.

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According to the Swiss bank, billionaires in particular benefited from bets on the recovery of the stock markets, when they were at their lowest level at the time of containment – between March and April. The fortune of billionaires thus beats the record set in 2017, the year of economic recovery, when it reached 8.9 trillion dollars. The number of billionaires has increased from 2,158 in 2017 to 2,189 in 2020.

The highest concentration of wealth

According to Josef Stadler, head of the Global family office at UBS, the super-rich bought more shares of companies when stock markets around the world were crashing. The rebound generated by the resumption of economic activities has also enabled certain technology companies, often owned by billionaires, to increase sharply.

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“The concentration of wealth is as high as in 1905”, says Stadler, in the British daily “The Guardian” . The super-rich in the world have thus held the greatest concentration of wealth since the golden age of the United States at the dawn of the twentieth century, when families such as the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled much. vast fortunes.

Dynamism of the Tech sector

At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated the growing division of wealth between innovative entrepreneurs investing mainly in technology, health and industrial products, and other businessmen operating in less dynamic sectors like real estate. , entertainment and financial services. Unlike “Forbes” magazine, UBS does not establish a ranking of global wealth. However, it is possible to cite as an example the first of the super-rich, Jeff Bezos, boss of Amazon, having increased his fortune by 74 billion dollars this year. For his part, Tesla founder Elon Musk increased his fortune this year from $ 76 billion to $ 103 billion.

According to UBS, billionaires have thus increased their donations to help fight Covid-19 and the financial impact of containment. “Our study identified 209 billionaires who publicly committed an amount equivalent to $ 7.2 billion from March to June 2020,” the report said. More than half of the donations come from the United States.

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