Knight Frank on High Net Worth Kenyans – HNWIs

Knight Frank has released its report on wealthy Kenyans or HNWIs (high-net-worth individuals)  whose number and wealth grew in 2018, which was considered a difficult year for the country with the increased cost of living, credit shortage, and post-election economic slowdown.

According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report, the number of Kenyan HNWIs, with net worths, excluding their primary homes, of over $1 million (Kshs 100 million) grew by 306 to reach 9,482 individual. It noted that there were also 82 “ultra-wealthy” individuals, with net worths of Kshs 3 billion, residing in Nairobi.

Some characteristics of the group of dollar millionaires (which also draws from an Attitudes Survey by Knight Frank, among other reports):

  • Home ownership: First and second homes make up 45% of their wealth. Kenyan HNWI’s own an average of 2.7 homes, while those in South Africa own an average of four homes.
  • 18% of HNWI’s bought new homes in 2018 in the country, and 8% bought homes abroad,. 22% plan to buy new homes in the country this year with the drop in luxury home prices and unfavourable economy in Kenya last year considered a good opportunity for property investments. 39% own investment properties in Kenya and 22% have investment properties overseas. 
  • Investment Portfolios: 25% of HNWI investments are in equities (company shares), 22% for properties that earn income, 22% in cash and 20% in bonds. Just 3% goes to private equity – and this has been a sore point for upcoming young companies who have to turn overseas to get equity funding.  
  • Local Preferences:  The report notes that governments around the world are targeting global wealth, and 24% of the ultra-wealthy Kenyans have second passports or dual nationalities but only 9% are considering emigrating with an indicated preference for the UK, Canada and the USA. Half of them educate their children overseas for primary and secondary school and 65% of them send their children overseas for university education. 

  • HNWI’s allocated 3% of their wealth to luxury investments such as arts, wine and classic cars, among other collectables, with the majority collecting cars and jewellery followed by art and furniture. Whiskey and Chinese ceramics also feature, while gold gets 1%.  The Report mentions that EABL has a mini mentorship program to woo more Kenyans to invest in collectible whiskies. 
  • Generational Wealth: Transferring wealth is still a delicate matter among Kenya’s rich, with only 43% of respondents to the Attitudes Survey saying their clients have robust succession plans in place to pass their wealth to the next generation. 

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