74% of GCC Wealth Resides in UAE and KSA


A research by Oxfam, published not long ago, stated that the global wealth distribution was unequal to a “staggering” extreme. The Gulf region is not an exception of this rule a new report has found that two countries own 74% of the GCC wealth.

Wealth distribution between the different GCC countries is also not equal. That was the main conclusion of the latest GCC Private Banking Study by Strategy&. Researchers have estimated that 74% of the region’s money is under the control of the high net worth individuals living in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

GCC wealth distribution:

  • Saudi Arabia – 44%
  • UAE – 30%
  • Kuwait – 11%
  • Qatar – 7%
  • Oman – 5%
  • Bahrain – 3%

Still, the research states that UAE has registered the most impressive rise of affluent households in the Gulf. For just four years, the country’s share of rich households has increased from 16% to 26%.

Also, $2.2 trillion (AED 8 trillion) is the amount of money currently held by the region’s wealthy households in private banks. That is an increase of $1.1 trillion compared to five years ago.

According to the report, the minimal number of rich households in the Gulf region is around 1.5 million. Each of them has at least AED743,630 or $200,000 in bank accounts, cash and other assets. For some of these households, that sum even reaches more than AED183 million or $50 million.

However, researchers have found that most of the region’s wealth is controlled by a small part of GCC’s rich households known as HNWIs or high net worth individuals. Those are people who have at least $1 million in financial assets, excluding primary residence. According to the report, HNWIs account for over 40% of the Gulf region’s wealth.

Nevertheless, the percentage of well-to-do households in the region is reported to be on rise since 2010. It is calculated that the number wealthy households has jumped by around over the last half a decade.

The study also explains the reason behind the rise of private wealth in the Gulf. According to it, this positive trend has to do with GCC countries improved economies, global equities good performance, as well as private wealth’s migration from other countries from the Middle East (a direct result from the Arab Spring).


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