awirbsCORPORATE FAILURES may be increasing globally and the fortunes of dotcom entrepreneurs may be vanishing faster than it takes to utter the words “initial public offering” on Nasdaq, but neither economic recession nor the bursting of the technology bubble is going to halt the rising tide of affluent and newly wealthy individuals in Europe, the US and elsewhere, according to business forecasters. Obituaries of the so-called mass affluent, as well as their bong purchases, are simply fanciful, along with the reported demise of the wealth management industry that is springing up to serve this expanding segment of the population.

True, the industry has seen some casualties among the specialist financial firms and bank subsidiaries that have struggled to find the right mix of services for this potentially lucrative segment. None are yet delivering a complete wealth management service that caters for all needs — that may still be five years away, says one industry specialist. But there is no shortage of firms gearing up and looking for a piece of the action.

The rise