The 2014 Millionaire Race: Goodbye BRICs, Hello MINTs

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In 2014, the MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey), will surpass the BRICSs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) in the world race for millionaires, according to a new study by SPEAR’s magazine and WealthInsight, a London-based research service.

The MINT countries asa whole will perform better than both the BRICs and the G8 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and the U.S.), according to the study. In the list of countries set to create the most millionaires this year, the MINTs are posed to rank within the top eight, WealthInsight said. Led by Indonesia, which is expected to see a 22% increase in the number of millionaires this year, the list is followed by Nigeria with a 10% increase, Turkey with a 8.5% increase and Mexico with a 7% increase. Both acronyms –BRICs and MINTs– were coined by British economist Jim O’Neill, an ex-Goldman Sachs employee.

The definition of “millionaires”, referred to in WealthInsight’s lexicon as “high net worth individuals” or ‘HNWIs’, are individuals with net assets of US$1 million or more, excluding their primary residences.

In numerical terms, Mexico’s 7% millionaire growth translates into 10,150 more millionaires in 2014 than in 2013, when Mexico had 145,000 millionaires, according to WealthInsight.

The forecast is sure to stir the debate in Mexico on income inequality. According to the OECD, Mexico is by far the most unequal country in the organization which Mexico joined in 1994. Mexico’s inequality is three times the OECD’s average. José Angel Gurría, former Mexican Financer Minister and current Secretary General of the OECD, said recently that the very rich in Mexico earn nine times more than the poorest people.

In a recent article in Spain’s El País, Mexican historian Enrique Krauze rejected the idea of Mexico as “the new China,” and described Mexico as a country with whole regions currently under the power of organized crime, unending political discord among political actors and lost opportunities.

In a statement released January 16, Oliver Williams, a wealth consultant with WealthInsight, explained: “There is a new class of wealthy emerging in the MINT countries, which is going to grow very rapidly. This huge wealth surge happening in the MINT countries now mirrors the BRICs ten or fifteen years ago. The only difference is the new Mexican, Indonesian, Nigerian and Turkish millionaire is likely to be much younger due to the demographics of these countries.”

However, there are risks that come with extreme wealth, warned Williams: “Many countries, such as Nigeria, have seen a rise in poverty alongside an increasing millionaire population. Large inequality is a hallmark of the BRICs which could also become a feature of the MINTs if corruption is not checked and philanthropy among the wealthy not encouraged.”

According the World Bank, in the past 20 years, Mexico’s poverty levels remained almost the same; in 1992, 53.1 % of population live in poverty, against 52.3 % in 2012.

The list also shows that the UK is going to see the biggest percentage increase in millionaires in Europe and one of the highest in the world ahead of global powers such as Japan, Russia and Canada. From the G8 only the US ranks above the UK.