South Africa

South Africa’s centi-millionaires – a new class of super-rich

Henley and Partners released its 2022 Centi-Millionaire report, which sheds light on the world’s super-wealthy, their habits, and where they live.

According to the report, to be considered super-wealthy, a person needs to have a net wealth of US$100 million – dubbed “centi-millionaires”.

In many emerging market countries, there are very few billionaires, making this wealth band irrelevant. However, these same countries often have large numbers of centi-millionaires.

South Africa is a good example. It only has five Dollar billionaires, but 92 centi-millionaires. It is the top-ranked country in Africa and holds the twenty-seventh position globally.

Therefore, the centi-millionaire wealth band is a more accurate reflection of the “super-wealthy” community in these countries.

There are only 25,490 centi-millionaires in the world, and the origin of their wealth generally falls into four categories.

  • Baby boomers selling off their small to medium-sized enterprises.
  • High-rolling stock market players.
  • CEOs of multinationals and highly successful tech companies.
  • Inherited wealth.

The centi-millionaires are often indistinguishable from the billionaires, and most of them have their own private jets and super-yachts.

Private family offices normally manage their assets and finances, and they traditionally have three or more homes that they move between over the year.

The United States is dominant in this wealth band and accounts for 38% of the world’s centi-millionaires, despite only constituting 4% of the planet’s population.

New York dominates the list for centi-millionaire host cities globally, followed by the San Francisco Bay Area, and London.

Fastest growing countries for the ultra-rich


Henley and Partners expects the fastest-growing markets for centi-millionaires over the next decade to be Vietnam, India, and Mauritius.

  • Vietnam – Emerging manufacturing hub of Asia. Strong growth is expected in the local manufacturing, real estate, technology, and financial services sectors.
  • India – Large number of entrepreneurs and competitive wages. Strong growth forecast in the local technology, financial services, business process outsourcing, real estate, healthcare, and media sectors.
  • Mauritius – Safe, business-friendly country with low tax rates and a hotspot for migrating centi-millionaires. Strong growth is expected in the local financial services sector.

What the ultra-rich like to do

The Breakers in Palm Beach

The most popular pursuits of centi-millionaires are golf, collecting art, cycling and mountain biking, skiing, and horse riding.

Other popular activities include fishing, collecting classic cars, hunting, yachting and sailing, and watch collecting.

The top holiday destinations among the super-wealthy are The Hamptons, Palm Beach and Miami Beach, the French Riviera, the Italian Riviera, and The Algarve, Portugal.

Other popular holiday spots include The Rocky Mountains, Lake Como in Italy, ski towns in Switzerland, African wildlife safaris, and Tuscany.

The top hotels are:

  1. The Breakers, Palm Beach
  2. Bellagio Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
  3. The Plaza Hotel, New York
  4. The Beverley Hills Hotel, Los Angeles
  5. Claridge’s, London
  6. Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes
  7. Villa d’Este, Lake Como
  8. Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Monaco
  9. Raffles, Singapore
  10. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The super-rich also sent their kids to the best and most expensive schools, like Institut auf dem Rosenberg, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Future trends among the world’s super-wealthy

Zimbali Estate

Henley and Partners highlighted a few trends among the world’s super-rich, which are particularly relevant to South Africa.

Eco-estate living is on the rise, with ecologically friendly lifestyle estates with natural indigenous wilderness areas.

Notable examples include Jack’s Point in New Zealand, Yellowstone Club in the USA, and Zimbali Estate in South Africa.

Solar roofs are also expected to become increasingly popular over the next decade, especially among centi-millionaires in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, the UAE, and the USA.

There is a large-scale migration of centi-millionaires currently underway, and researchers expect this trend to continue.

“We anticipate centi-millionaires to increasingly move to Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland,” they said.


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