India may have been minting millionaires at an unprecedented rate over the past decade, but it has also seen many of its seven-figured-citizens escape to other countries.
The latest Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report–which looks at the spending habits of the rich, the superrich and the “I have my own Boeing but forgot where I parked it,” rich—estimates that more than 43,000 Indian millionaires left the country to settle elsewhere in the past 10 years. That is second only to China, which saw a private-plane drain of more than 76,000 people, according to estimates from property company Knight Frank and immigration consultancy Fragomen.
While Indians tended to take their railway cars full of rupees to other English-speaking countries, government restrictions have slowed the flow of Indian millionaire money in recent years, said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank
“High net-worth Indians are a big part of the prime market in places like London and that has been slightly undermined in the last two years by the tightening of capital controls (in India) making it much more difficult to export capital,” he said.
China lost the most rich migrants as 76,200 of its millionaires left to settle in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S. and Australia. After the two billion-person emerging markets, the biggest losers in terms of millionaire migrants were France, Italy, Russia, Switzerland and Indonesia. You wouldn’t think the rich and famous would be so anxious to leave Europe but apparently high taxes on the high earners encouraged many to leave.
In terms of the countries that attracted the most millionaire migrants, the United Kingdom was the leader by a huge margin. Around 114,000 rich folks from elsewhere settled in the quaint island nation during the 10 years through 2014. It was followed by Singapore, which attracted more than 45,000 new, rich citizens, the U.S., which welcomed 42,000 elite expats and Australia, which became home to 22,000 rich newcomers. Finishing up the list of the seven most-popular countries for millionaires to escape to, were Hong Kong, Canada and United Arab Emirates.
Despite the exodus, many of the people Knight Frank has dubbed “ultra-high-net-worth individuals” remained in India.
Last year, Mumbai was home to the most, with 619 UHNWIs, who Knight Frank describes as people worth at least $30 million. Delhi was a distant second with only 157 as wealthy, followed by Bangalore with 75, Chennai with 49, Hyderabad with 39 and Ahmedabad with 20. Kolkata was not mentioned in the report.