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London’s Wealth Exodus

Andrew Amoils

Andrew Amoils

Andrew Amoils is Head of Research at wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth.

The UK, and London especially, has traditionally been seen as one of the world’s top destinations for migrating millionaires1 and for many years (from the 1950s to early 2000s) it consistently attracted large numbers of wealthy families from mainland Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. 

However, this trend began to reverse around a decade ago as more millionaires began to leave the country and fewer came in. Notably, during the six-year period from 2017 to 2023 post Brexit the UK has lost 16,500 millionaires to migration. Provisional estimates for 2024 are even more concerning, with a massive net outflow of 9,500 millionaires projected for this year alone.

The top destination cities for millionaires leaving the UK in 2024/2025 are expected to include Paris, Dubai, Amsterdam, Monaco, Geneva, Sydney, and Singapore, as well as retirement hotspots such as Florida, the Algarve, Malta, and the Italian Riviera.

The UK flag flying in front of the London skyline at sunrise

Drivers of the rising exodus

  • There are multiple complex drivers behind the UK’s wealth outflow, which include the following:
  • Wealthy non-doms have been targeted with additional taxes, which has prompted many of them to leave the country. 
  • Capital gains tax and estate duty rates in the UK are among the highest in the world, which deters wealthy business owners and retirees from living there. These taxes also have a spillover effect on the local wealth management and family office sector, which is showing signs of decline.
  • The growing dominance of the USA and Asia in the global hi-tech space has caused several wealthy UK tech entrepreneurs to reconsider their base location.
  • The dwindling importance of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which was once the largest in the world but now ranks 11th globally. The past two decades have been particularly detrimental, with a large number of delistings.
  • The healthcare system in the UK is deteriorating and there are increasing safety concerns, especially in big cities such as London. 
  • Historically, much of the UK’s appeal lay in its language, English, which is the first or second language of most high-net-worth individuals globally. However, over time this has become less important as the economies of the other major English-speaking countries (USA, Australia, and Canada) have grown. Furthermore, there are now several other high-income markets where those who only speak English can get by, including the likes of Singapore, the UAE, New Zealand, Malta, Switzerland, and Mauritius. The top-end schools and universities in these countries have also improved over time and many are now rated on a par with the UK.

Semigration within the UK

Thousands of wealthy Brits have also moved internally over the past decade, with many moving out of the big cities to affluent small towns such as Weybridge, Virginia Water, Marlow, Ascot, Taplow, Harrogate, and Bray. These towns are becoming increasingly popular among the super-wealthy centi-millionaire cohort — those with over USD 100 million in investable wealth. 

The Cotswolds region is also gaining in popularity among this wealth grouping. While the area has been a popular second-home hotspot for wealthy Londoners for several decades, more recently many high-net-worth individuals have decided to live there permanently.

Future concerns

Going forward, new threats such as rising anti-Semitism could see outward wealth migration accelerate further. Also, the continued ascendance of nearby financial hubs such as Paris, Dubai, and Amsterdam could further erode London’s status as Europe’s top financial center.

At current growth rates, we expect Paris to overtake London to become the wealthiest city in Europe by 2030. See the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report for the current standings.

Stemming the tide

Despite its current challenges, there are a number of measures the UK could consider taking to enhance its appeal and draw back the world’s wealthy, namely: 

  • Scrapping capital gains tax and estate duty. During the Brexit vote, there was a great deal made of the opportunity for the UK to become the “Singapore of Europe”. The clearest way to do this would be to scrap these two taxes. Many fast growing high-income markets globally have done so with success, including the likes of Mauritius, the UAE, New Zealand, and Singapore.
  • Introducing automatic work visas (freedom of movement) for those from the Safe Haven 8. This would increase the UK’s economic and political ties with these fast-growing wealth markets.
  • Move towards a Dubai-style healthcare system, which is largely privatized. Alternatively, the UK could introduce a co-payment on doctors’ visits (as France has done) to alleviate stress on the public healthcare system.


1 The terms ‘millionaires’ or ‘high-net-worth individuals’ (HNWIs) refer to individuals with liquid investable wealth of USD 1 million or more.

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