April 19, 2006

Ranks of US millionaires worth over $5 million swell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of U.S. households boasting
a net worth of at least $5 million swelled to an all-time high
in 2005, according a report released Wednesday by consulting
firm Spectrem Group.

The report, "Affluent Market Insights 2006," is based on
data gathered through mail and surveys of 1,014 respondents
from September 2005 to November 2005.

Spectrem, which specializes in the affluent and retirement
markets, said a record 8.3 million U.S. households are worth at
least $1 million, excluding the value of a primary residence.

This is the second-consecutive year of record growth in the
category, topping the 2004 mark of 7.5 million households.

The Ultra High Net Worth category, which is comprised of
households worth at least $5 million, not including the value
of a main residence, surged 26 percent in 2005 to 930,000.

"Clearly the stock market, which posted solid improvement
in 2005 was one reason for the advance. However, for the
wealthiest Americans, it appears the increased use of
international markets and alternative investments were the key
drivers of their improvement," Spectrem Group managing director
Catherine S. McBreen, said in a statement.

Chicago-based Spectrem found that households worth at least
$500,000 placed 45 percent of their funds in investable assets,
including stocks and bonds, managed accounts, IRAs, mutual
funds, deposits and alternative investments.