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Millionaires are falling out of love with Britain

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Britain is fast losing its reputation as a hub for wealthy investors and businesspeople, with hundreds more millionaires leaving last year.

In 2022 a further 1,400 high-net-worth individuals, defined as those with wealth in excess of $1 million, left Britain, according to data from Henley & Partners, the citizenship advisory firm. There are thought to be about 737,000 such millionaires in the UK currently.

The latest exodus continues a trend that began shortly after the Brexit vote in 2016, since when an estimated 12,000 millionaires have deserted the UK for pastures new. Among them will be dozens of well-paid bankers, who have been forced by employers to relocate around Europe in the wake of Brexit.

The European Banking Authority, the European Union’s industry watchdog, cited transfers from London as a key reason why the number of European bankers earning in excess of €1 million rose by more than 40 per cent to 1,957 in 2021.

Britain was once a magnet for the wealthy, who were attracted by the strong rule of law and the relative political stability, while a friendly time zone allowed them to conduct their business with staff and clients based around the world. “Now that Brexit has been entrenched and the very real longer-term consequences are being felt, we have seen increased movement from wealthy UK citizens looking to claw back their EU status by obtaining an EU residence or citizenship by investment,” Stuart Wakeling, head of Henley & Partners’ London office, said.

Whereas in the past, globetrotting millionaires might have been tempted to base themselves in the UK, most are now looking to the Middle East and Asia. The United Arab Emirates is estimated to have seen the biggest inflow of high-net-worth individuals last year, according to Henley & Partners.