| 8.7°C Dublin

Our millionaires 'more discreet about their wealth'

IRISH millionaires are less likely to "show off" the trappings of wealth even though they hold an average of 10pc of their riches in personal "treasure", a new international report reveals.

Ireland's millionaires match the trends of our US counterparts when it comes to the amount of jewellery, fine art, wine, antiques, classic cars and precious metals that they own. But our wealthy are more covetous than the British -- who keep just 7pc of their wealth as treasure.

The figures are from the latest report from Barclays -- 'Profit or Pleasure? Exploring the Motivations Behind Treasure Trends' -- which draws its conclusions from a survey of 2,000 high net worth individuals from all over the world. It shows Irish treasure hordes are particularly practical by international standards.


Barclays says Irish hoards typically include jewellery (60pc), fine art (35pc) and antiques (19pc). While these categories topped the UK treasure preferences as well, British spenders also spent their money on classic cars, fine wines and gold sovereigns which the Irish tend not to do.

"Irish high net worth individuals are among the world's least showy and buy these items to enjoy them rather than resell them or show them off. The lean towards jewellery, paintings and antiques shows that our wealthiest like to have these things in their homes where they can see them," says Pat McCormack, of Barclays Irish wealth and investment division.

In fact, just 17pc of wealthy Irish individuals listed "showing it off" as the motivation for making their purchases. This compares with 19pc in the UK and 22pc in the US.

"Generally speaking we found a higher predisposition to showing off in more newly wealthy countries," said Mr McCormack, who cites 75pc of bling-hungry Indians stating their motivation is to show it off. "In these countries, flashy jewellery is particularly popular."

The report shows that high net worth individuals hold high amounts of treasure in the United Arab Emirates (18pc) while individuals in Brazil, China and Singapore held on average one-sixth of their wealth in valuables with those in India (3pc) and Qatar (2pc) holding the least.

A large majority (63pc) of Irish millionaires considered at least one of their treasure assets to be priceless but the Irish were less likely than other nations to acquire them with appreciation in mind. That said, the Irish required a 67pc increase over a year in their valuables to entice them to sell.

Despite the increased public interest in collectibles and record prices at auctions, the report finds that Irish investors are far more likely to buy for emotional, rather than for financial, reasons.

The international average for holding treasure for financial reasons was 19pc, with the Irish falling well below at 12pc.

There was also a divide among younger and older investors around the world, with older buyers preferring antiques and classic cars while younger buyers were more interested in precious metals and wines.

Irish Independent