Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

A philosophical look at the habits of the super-rich

October 13, 2008

rtx8vgi.jpgThe credit crisis may be hitting the man on the street hard, but spending by the “other half” on the latest super yacht or Damien Hirst work of art looks set to carry on relatively unaffected.

Super-wealthy individuals in commodity-rich areas such as Russia and the Middle East are reaping the benefits of a five-year boom in oil and other commodity prices.

Even though oil and commodity prices are now coming off sharply, the boom is still feeding through into their spending power, provided they haven’t done anything too risky with their cash in the meantime.

And it’s happening just when everyone else is cutting back on non-essentials.

“It’s like philosophy,” explains ING’s Deputy CEO of Private Banking Bernard Coucke.

“Philosophy always comes after a century of economic prosperity, never before. Spending always comes after prosperity, never before.”

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