War leads to mass exodus of millionaires from Russia and Ukraine

Henley Global Citizens Report, which tracks private wealth and investment migration trends worldwide, also shows UK has lost its wealth hub crown

A tsunami of private capital has left Russia and the Ukraine, the UK has lost its wealth hub crown, and the US is fading fast as a magnet for the world’s wealthy, according to the latest Henley Global Citizens Report.

The report, which tracks private wealth and investment migration trends worldwide, finds the UAE is expected to overtake the US by attracting the largest net inflows of millionaires globally in 2022.

According to the latest data, destinations that traditionally attracted wealthy investors are losing their lust. The UK, once touted as the world’s financial centre, continues to see a steady loss of millionaires, with net outflows of 1,500 predicted for 2022.

This trend began five years ago when the Brexit vote and rising taxes saw more high net worth individuals leaving the country than entering for the first time. The UK has suffered a total net loss of approximately 12,000 millionaires since 2017.


Russia has suffered the biggest emigration of millionaires over the past six months, with forecast net outflows of 15,000 by the end of 2022 – 15 per cent of its high net worth individual population and 9,500 more than in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Russia’s invasion is in turn driving a steep spike in outgoing high net worth individuals from Ukraine, which is predicted to suffer its highest net loss in the country’s history – 2,800 millionaires, or 42 per cent of this cohort, and a net loss of 2,400 more than 2019.

No country-specific figures are available for 2020 and 2021 owing to Covid-related lockdowns and travel restrictions.

The top 10 countries in terms of net inflows of high net worth individuals in 2022 will be the UAE, Australia, Singapore, Israel, Switzerland, the US, Portugal, Greece, Canada and New Zealand.

Large numbers of millionaires are also expected to move to Malta, Mauritius and Monaco.

On the flip side, the 10 countries where the highest net outflows of high net worth individuals are Russia, China, India, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Brazil, the UK, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The appeal of another financial giant, the US, is also dwindling fast. America is notably less popular among migrating millionaires today than pre-Covid, “perhaps owing in part to the threat of higher taxes”, the report notes.

The country still attracts more high net worth individuals than it loses to emigration, with a net inflow of 1,500 projected for 2022, although this is a drop of 86 per cent from 2019 levels, which saw a net inflow of 10,800 millionaires.

By contrast, the UAE has become the focus of intense interest among affluent investors and is expected to see the highest net influx of high net worth individuals globally in 2022, with 4,000 forecast.

That would represent an increase of 208 per cent versus 2019′s net inflow of 1,300 and one of its largest on record.

High net worth individual inflows are also on the rise in Israel, with a figure of 2,500 forecast for 2022, up 79 per cent since 2019.

Long-term high performer Australia consistently attracts large numbers of high net worth individuals. More than 80,000 US dollar millionaires have moved to the country over the past 20 years. In 2022, the net inflow is expected to be 3,500 – the second-highest globally.

Neighbouring New Zealand is expected to receive a net inflow of 800 high net worth individuals in 2022, and Asia’s prime hub of affluence, Singapore, continues to attract millionaires, with net inflows of 2,800 expected, up 87 per cent increase compared to 2019.

Wealth emigration is beginning to hurt in China, with net outflows of 10,000 high net worth individuals expected in 2022.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter