Something surprising is happening with Canada’s ultra-rich: Unlike in pretty much the rest of the developed world, their ranks are shrinking.

That’s according to a new study from Swiss bank UBS and Wealth-X, which found the number of “ultra high net worth” Canadians (those with $30 million or more in assets) to have shrunk in the past year.

The number of ultra-rich in Canada dropped to 4,980 in 2013, from 5,015 in 2012, the study found — a decline of 0.7 per cent. The amount of wealth these individuals hold remained steady, at $595 billion U.S.

By comparison, the U.S. saw the number of super-rich jump 8.7 per cent, to 65,505, while their combined wealth grew 9.7 per cent over the year.

At the same time, the number of wealthy worldwide grew to a record high of 199,235 individuals, with a combined wealth of $27.8 trillion U.S. That’s up by about 12,000 people since last year, and their combined wealth jumped 7.7 per cent.

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  • 10: Chip Wilson - $3.5 billion

    The founder of Lululemon has cracked the top 10 list with a net worth of $3.5 billion.

  • 9: Carlo Fidani - $3.6 billion

    Fidani is the heir to a Toronto-area real estate fortune. He runs Orlando Corp.

  • 8: Saputo family - $4.23 billion

    Lino Saputo established dairy giant Saputo Inc. in the 1960s, growing it to one of Canada's largest companies. His son, Joey, is pictured here.

  • 7: Paul Desmarais, Sr. - $4.4 billion

    Desmarais is the chairman of Power Corp.

  • 6: Jeff Skoll - $4.55 billion

    Skoll was the first employee and the first president of eBay. He is based in Los Angeles.

  • 5: Jimmy Pattison - $6.14 billion

    The owner of the Jim Pattison Group has a variety of holdings including Western Canada's Overwaitea supermarket chain and a number of radio and TV stations in Alberta and B.C.

  • 4: Rogers family - $6.4 billion

    The Rogers family are the heirs to Ted Rogers' telecommunications empire. Pictured: Ted Rogers, who passed away in 2008.

  • 3: J.K., Arthur and John Irving - $8.07 billion

    Heirs to the Irving Oil fortune.

  • 2: Galen Weston - $8.2 billion

    Besides the Weston Foods baking empire, Weston holds a controlling share in the Loblaws supermarket chain and is chairman of upscale retailer Holt Renfrew.

  • 1. Thomson family - $20.1 billion

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    COUNTRIES, CITIES WITH THE MOST MILLIONAIRES

  • 10. Italy

    259,000 millionaires.

  • 9. Australia

    275,000 millionaires.

  • 8. Switzerland

    298,000 millionaires.

  • 7. Canada

    422,000 millionaires.

  • 6. France

    555,000 millionaires.

  • 5. United Kingdom

    675,000 millionaires.

  • 4. China

    1.28 million millionaires.

  • 3. Germany

    1.32 million millionaires.

  • 2. Japan

    2.1 million millionaires.

  • 1. United States

    5.2 million millionaires.

  • Cities With The Most Millionaires

    Source: WealthInsight

  • 20. Moscow

    101,000 millionaires.

  • 19. Mexico City

    102,000 millionaires.

  • 18. Houston, Texas

    103,000 millionaires.

  • 17. Sydney

    104,000 millionaires.

  • 16. Chicago

    107,000 millionaires.

  • 15. Toronto

    118,000 millionaires.

  • 14. Los Angeles

    126,000 millionaires.

  • 13. Rome

    127,000 millionaires.

  • 12. Munich

    130,000 millionaires.

  • 11. Seoul

    131,000 millionaires.

  • 10. Singapore

    157,000 millionaires.

  • 9. Shanghai

    166,000 millionaires.

  • 8: Hong Kong

    187,000 millionaires.

  • 7. Osaka

    190,000 millionaires.

  • 6: Beijing

    213,000 millionaires.

  • 5. Frankfurt

    217,000 millionaires.

  • 4. Paris

    219,000 millionaires.

  • 3. London

    281,000 millionaires.

  • 2: New York

    389,000 millionaires.

  • 1. Tokyo

    461,000 millionaires.

So what’s happening in Canada? Well it appears Canada, with its resource-driven economy, is following the patterns of the developing world, rather than the developed world.

The recent slowdown in Asia, particularly China, has caused some of those countries to see declines in the number of super-rich. The number of Chinese super-rich shrank five per cent, to around 10,675 this year, while the number of super-rich Indians, South Koreans and Singaporeans remained largely flat.

In Canada, the Asian slowdown has put downward pressure on the commodities-heavy stock markets, which have been among the developed world’s worst-performing this year. That has made it hard for wealthy investors to see solid earnings this year.

Notably, the survey also finds that Canada has “one of the lowest proportions of female net worth in the world, over four times lower than the U.S.”

Women account for only five per cent of Canada’s high net worth population, controlling only three per cent of its wealth.

In the U.S., women account for 11 per cent of the super-rich, and hold 13 per cent of their combined wealth. The numbers for the world as a whole are similar to those of the U.S. — 12 per cent of the super-rich population, holding 12 per cent of its wealth.

The survey did not offer any explanation for why women are far less likely to be super-rich in Canada.

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