The economic crisis took a harsh toll on the world's wealth, wiping out two years of growth and reducing both the number of high-net-worth individuals and their total wealth to below 2005 levels.

In 2008 the world population of high-net-worth individuals — those with at least $1 million in investable assets excluding primary residences — fell by 14.9%, to 8.6 million, and their wealth dropped 19.5%, to $32.8 trillion, according to the 13th annual World Wealth Report, compiled by Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini Group.

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