Millennials – the global guardians of capital

In this report, we discuss why millennials matter, unpick some commonly held beliefs, and show how their habits will play a pivotal role in the way the world spends its private wealth.

22 Jun 2017
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Who are the millennials and why do they matter

A lot has been written about this generation and, as a result, many widespread assumptions persist. We challenge these commonly held views and explain why it's important to understand millennials' behavior and preferences.


Yes, 74% of millennials say that they can't survive a day without their smartphone.

But they are not alone. Fifty percent of Baby Boomers say the same thing.


Yes, but no more than any generation before them.

In fact, studies say that millennials care increasingly about social and sustainability issues.

Future wealth

By 2020, millennial wealth – driven by inheritance, entrepreneurial activities, and income growth – could stand at USD 24trn according to Deloitte. That's around 1.5 times the size of the US economy in 2015. The values and traits of this generation will have significant implications for governments, NGOs, and businesses worldwide.

Quiz: Do you know millennials?

What shapes their perspective

Millennials drive technological change and other generations follow

As the first generation to grow up in smartphone-connected, technology-rich households, millennials have been leading and driving the use of digital solutions. But the appeal of extreme automation and connectivity is universal. People of all ages are increasingly drawn to open, information-sharing infrastructure that conveniently connects users to varied, tailored content. As other generations catch up, digitally-powered platform-companies look set to become the new norm.

Millennials can lead the use of private wealth for public good

Demand for sustainable investment and innovative solutions for social problems has grown across all generations. But it is millennials, with their access to future capital and quick adoption of technology, who can drive the use of private wealth for public good and push for development of progressive solutions and purposeful projects. The more wealth managers understand this transformation, the better positioned will they be to play a critical role within it.

Millennials – the global guardians of capital

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Read also an interview on an internal survey with UBS' Global Head of HR - Sabine Keller-Busse

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