The number of dollar millionaires in Germany rose last year by just 0.9 percent. Slight as that might be, there are still more millionaires here than anywhere else in the world apart from the US and Japan.
Germany is in the money
The 10th World Wealth Report published by consultants Capgemini and US investment bank Merrill Lynch revealed that in 2005, Germany was home to a total of 767,000 High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) -- private investors with a fortune of over $1 million (791,000 euros) or property worth an equal amount.
The report has Germany tailing the US, with its 2.6 million millionaires, and Japan, with 1.4 million -- while world-wide, the number of HNWIs climbed 6.5 percent to a total of 8.7 million.
Hard to make money in Germany
It seems that it's harder to augment a fortune in Germany than elsewhere on the planet.
In 2005, noone was buying
"Like the year before, there were no new fortunes made in 2005 despite positive developments on the stock market and rising productivity," Achim Küssner, German CEO of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, told Handelsblatt.
"Inhibiting factors included depressed consumer confidence caused by persistent unemployment and the low rise in wage costs; the complicated tax system and the over-regulated labor market," he said.
Hans-Jürgen Walter, an adviser to Capgemini Germany, said the trend is likely to continue. Although assets are surging across the globe -- such as in the US, where wealth is set to swell by 7.4 percent by 2010, and Asia, which is profiting from the rapidly climbing oil prices -- the figure is expected to average a mere 3.7 percent a year in Europe.
Küssner from Merrill Lynch said it's hard to win market shares in Germany and added that he predicts a growing trend among German property administrators to international co-operations.
Germany's changing fortunes
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Economic Minister Ludwig Erhard ushered in the economic miracle
It's a sharp contrast to the 1950s and 60s, when Germany regularly topped the millionaire lists thanks to its famed economic miracle and the abundance of inherited property. Over the decades, this property was rented and the income invested. After German reunification, the number of property owners climbed again -- but by then, the US and Japan had already caught up.
In the meantime, financial services have had to adjust to what's been described as the largest capital transfer in history, with more and more German money being transferred abroad, primarily to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland.
According to the Federal Statistics Office, most of the country's financial elite that actually make more than $1 million per year, are based in North Rhine-Westphalia. The western state is home to 3,000 high earners -- more, even, than the notoriously affluent States of Bavaria and Baden Württemberg.
More localized still, the most prosperous corner of the country is the town of Meerbusch near Düsseldorf, where 61 of the 55,000 inhabitants earn a million and more per year.