The number of Israeli millionaires rose by 42.7 percent to 8,419 in 2009 from 5,900 in 2008, according to Merrill Lynch Israel, based on the Capgemini World Wealth Report 2010.


Merrill Lynch Israel said that the number of millionaires worldwide increased by 17.1%, with Israel having the third-highest rate of increase after Hong Kong (104%) and India (51%).

The increase in the number of millionaires underscores Israel’s rising social inequality among developed economies. It occurred during a recession, in the first half of 2009, when most salaried employees suffered pay cuts and worsening employment terms.


In an interview with Globes, Israel’s leading financial daily, Merrill Lynch Israel head of global wealth management Sigal Shapira attributed the increase in millionaires to long-term investment, which paid off during the economic downturn.


 The aggregate investible assets of Israel’s millionaires rose by 41% to $42.4 billion in 2009 from $30.1 billion 2008. The wealth drivers included a 40% rise in the value of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) securities and a 15.5% increase in housing prices.


The number of multimillionaires in Israel in 2009 also rose, by 14%, compared with 2008, from 73 to 83. Worldwide, the number of multimillionaires rose by 15.4%.