By Rick Moran
Back in 2012, French President Hollande made good on a campaign promise and imposed a 75% tax on millionaires. There were some high profile rich Frenchmen who exited the country, including Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of luxury group LVMH, who applied for Belgian nationality, and the actor Gérard Depardieu also moved across the border to Belgium before obtaining Russian citizenship.
Predictably the tax took in far less than advertised before it was dropped. But there was no mass exodus of rich people from the country. You don’t get to be rich by paying taxes; you get rich by shielding your money from the tax man.
But exiting because of terrorism is another matter. And last year, 10,000 rich people left France for greener pastures – an astonishing 3% of all the millionaires in the country.
The report was compiled by New World Wealth, an agency that gives information on the global wealth sector. The report was based on data collected from investor visa programme statistics of each country; annual interviews with around 800 global high net worth individuals and with intermediaries like migration experts, second citizenship platforms, wealth managers and property agents; data from property registers and property sales statistics in each country; and by tracking millionaire movements in the media.
According to the report, Millionaire migration in 2015, France topped the list of countries with maximum millionaire outflows as it lost 10,000 millionaires, or 3% of its millionaire population. Among the cities that saw maximum millionaire outflow, Paris, was at the top – losing about 6% of its millionaire population or 7,000 millionaires in 2015 to the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and Israel.
“The large outflow of millionaires from France is notable – France is being heavily impacted by risingreligious tensions between Christians and Muslims, especially in urban areas. We expect thatmillionaire migration away from France will accelerate over the next decade as these tensions escalate,” the report warns.
After France, the list of countries ranked by millionaire outflows includes China ranked second, followed by Italy, India, Greece, the Russian Federation, Spain and Brazil in descending order.
As for inflows, Australia was the favourite destination with maximum inflows in 2015 – a total of 8,000 new millionaires. The US was ranked second with 7,000 inflows, followed by Canada, Israel, the UAE and New Zealand.
Australian cities Sydney, Melbourne and Perth saw a significant millionaire inflow in 2015 from China, Europe, the UK, the US and South Africa, with Sydney topping the chart with 4,000 new millionaires or 4% added to its existing millionaire population, according to the report. Melbourne and Perth had 3,000 and 1,000 new millionaires in 2015, respectively. Tel Aviv, Dubai, San Francisco, Vancouver and Seattle also featured among the top eight cities with millionaire inflows.
People generally vote with their feet so the rich leaving France is a strong “no” vote for the way that the French government is handling their “Muslim question.” Recently, Hollande dropped the notion of taking away French citizenship for terrorists. What sort of signal does that send to terrorists?
More importanly, what kind of signal does that send to the French people who, in growing numbers, don’t want to live in a place where political correctness overrides the security of the people.