FinanceAsia has once again taken a close look at Asia’s richest families, compiling an annual list that gives our readers a unique glimpse of wealth accumulation at the very top.
There are some interesting changes. Cheng Yu Tung surged to the top after taking $1.17 billion in dividend payments. New entrants, especially from India, showed there is still plenty of room to break into the ranks of Asia’s mega-rich.
But by and large, those who made our rich list will be familiar names to FinanceAsia’s readers. They tend to be tycoons with long-established businesses, huge portfolios of property and strong influence in their local markets. They also — at the moment — tend to be carefully guarding their money, putting more emphasis on getting money back through dividends than investing profits in their businesses.
This reflects a wider trend among Asia’s rich. The rising expectation of an interest rate hike in the United States, fears about China’s economic slowdown, Brexit and a divisive US election have all combined to put the region’s wealthiest people in risk-off mode.
Their scepticism is not being helped by the travails of Asia’s oil and gas sector. Widespread liquidity problems have already led to defaults, and it seems clear there will be more to come.
This is bad news for the region’s private banks. These firms can just about deal with the rising regulatory hurdles. Much tougher is hearing from their clients that now is not the time to trade, something that has led to missed targets and delayed bonuses.
Those looking for a silver lining might point to the fact that soon the election drama in the United States is almost over . Trump’s refusal to say he would accept an election loss gracefully has opened up the possibility of a disputed handover, adding yet another risk factor to the list.
In this context, it is hard to blame Asia’s wealthiest people for keeping to the sidelines — and it must be said that such an approach has turned out well for them. The 100 richest men and women in our list paid themselves more than $18 billion of dividends in the 12 months from July 1, 2015.
It could be worse.
About FinanceAsia Magazine
Established in 1996, FinanceAsia is the leading publisher of financial news in the Asia-Pacific region. Our combination of print and online products provide the latest news, analysis and insight into Asia’s financial markets.
Published monthly from our office in Hong Kong, FinanceAsia magazine provides our readers with the latest financial trends, interviews, features and investigative reports. The publication has a readership of key decision-makers at corporations, governments, investment and commercial banks, institutional investors, asset managers, brokers, traders and financial intermediaries.
Our regular sections include:
We look at the key data behind a topical theme in Asian finance, showcased with an array of graphs and tables.
A monthly opinion column from the FinanceAsia editorial team. We provide our thoughts on a topic making the headlines.
Deal of the Month
Our regular two-page spread with its signature artwork and in-depth analysis examines the equity, debt or M&A deal that we feel has had the biggest impact on the Asian capital markets that month.
For company CEOs and CFOs, what investors think is a critical concern, and in this column we help them understand just this. Each month we speak to a Chief Investment Officer of a top fund and outline their views on corporate governance, what stocks they like and where they expect to generate the best returns.
A monthly opinion piece from a respected author or commentator on Asian business, finance or economics.
People on the Move
Here we summarise the key hires, fires and moves at the region’s banks, highlighting at least one major move each month.
We examine the major primary markets deals of the month and comment on the quality of the debt or equity transaction and the secondary market performance.
The Arts of Finance
A light-hearted look at investment opportunities surrounding the arts business in Asia.