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Rich ‘vote with their feet’ as millionaires flee Britain in record numbers

The UK could see an unprecedented exodus of millionaires spurred on by economic and political turmoil, according to a new report.

As many as 9,500 so-called high-net-worth individuals will depart Britain, more than double the record-breaking number who left in 2023, according to a forecast by migration advisers Henley & Partners.

The only country where more wealthy people will leave its shores is China, with an estimated net exit of 15,200 individuals, many of them heading to the United States, the report claims.

“As the world grapples with a perfect storm of geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainty and social upheaval, millionaires are voting with their feet in record numbers,” Dominic Volek, Henley’s group head of private clients, said.

“This represents a record outflow for the UK, with London expected to be especially hard hit. The top destinations for millionaires leaving the UK include Paris, Dubai, Amsterdam, Monaco, Geneva, Sydney and Singapore, and retirement hotspots Florida, the Algarve, Malta and the Italian Riviera,” said the report.

It said the UK, and London in particular, had traditionally been seen as one of the world’s top destinations for migrating millionaires, attracting large numbers of wealthy families from mainland Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The trend began to reverse, it said, during the six-year period from 2017 to 2023 post-Brexit, when the UK lost 16,500 millionaires to migration.

The number of millionaires in the UK has fallen 8 per cent over the past decade, according to Henley, in stark contrast to most other major economies across Europe and beyond. The number of high-net-worth individuals in Germany, for example, is up 15 per cent over the period, while the number in the US jumped 62 per cent.

Experts said the outflow had been driven by British economic and political uncertainty but suggested the adoption of policies, including the 40 per cent inheritance duty imposed on estates above £325,000, the ending of non-dom tax benefits and the prospect of greater expense of private education for their children if Labour wins the election have helped fuel greater numbers of departures.

Hannah White, chief executive of the Institute for Government think-tank said: “The outflow of high-net-worth individuals already generated by the economic and political context is now being accelerated by policy decisions ahead of the election,” she wrote in the report.

The country experiencing the largest influx of millionaires is the United Arab Emirates, followed by the United States.

“The countries with the greatest growth in high-net-worth individuals continue to be those who have prioritized policies designed to entice millionaires to their shores — nine of the top 10 countries attracting the most millionaires in 2024 have formal investment migration programs and actively encourage foreign direct investment in return for residence or citizenship rights,” Mr Volek said.

Other countries with large exoduses besides the UK and China included India, South Korea and Brazil. The UK and Russia were the only two European nations to record an outflow of millionaires.

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