Millennials: Global guardians of capital

Key takeaways

  • By 2020, total global millennial wealth could stand at $24 trillion, around one and a half times the size of the U.S.’s national output in 2015.
  • Millennials, defined as those born between 1982 and 1998, are set to benefit from the biggest wealth transfer ever seen.
  • UBS CIO Wealth Management (CIO WM) observe that Millennials share some particular traits that are different from other generations—they favor convenience, multi-channel communication and transparency from businesses.
  • It’s important not to overgeneralize about millennial behaviors, which risks alienating this diverse group and overlooking wider trends that will affect everyone.
  • Moving forward, it is critical that companies, governments and non-governmental organizations adapt to the needs of these new guardians of capital.
  • Talk to your UBS Financial Advisor about how you can best position your portfolio to take advantage of these evolving global trends and shifts in the investment landscape.

Millennials are defined as those who came of age at the turn of the 21st century (born between 1982 and 1998), and, by 2020, their global collective wealth is expected to stand at $24 trillion—or around 1.5x the U.S.’s national output in 2015. They’re also expected to benefit from one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in history. In fact, the 2016 Billionaires report from UBS and PwC estimates that 460 billionaires over the next two decades are expected to hand over $2.1 trillion to millennials—a sum equal to India’s entire 2015 GDP.

Given this massive accumulation of capital, it’s critical that businesses, governments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and investors recognize this growing shift in how millennials are shaping the future through how they buy and live—and to be positioned to capture potential opportunities. Read the full report (PDF, 1 MB) for more.

Millennials differ from other generations in that they favor convenience, multi-channel communication and transparency from businesses (and wealth managers). And the assumptions that millennials are obsessed with technology and with themselves are not consistent with the facts. All age cohorts are increasingly reliant on technology, and millennials’ willingness to tackle global issues will drive broader shifts in demand across age groups, compelling businesses and stakeholders to respond with new innovative operating modes.

Clients and customers will increasingly demand enhanced technological solutions. UBS CIO Wealth Management (CIO WM) recommends that businesses, including wealth managers, accelerate efforts to complement traditional operating models with convenient digital capabilities and omnichannel content delivery that enables a choice of traditional, digital or hybrid offerings. And corporations, governments and NGOs will progressively drive innovation and develop solutions that meet this demand and marshal capital (both financial and human) into the most purposeful projects.

For more on this growing trend and the opportunities that lie ahead, explore the full report (PDF, 1 MB) and detailed findings.

Are your investments poised to take advantage of upcoming global economic shifts? Connect with your UBS Financial Advisor or find one.