A general view of the Norwegian central bank, where Norway's sovereign wealth fund is situated, in Oslo
The study further highlights that this trend is not confined to a specific industry but spans across various sectors, including technology, finance and real estate.

In a startling revelation, a recent report from UBS has highlighted a significant shift in the means by which the next generation of billionaires in the United Kingdom accrue their vast fortunes.

Contrary to the traditional narrative of self-made success stories, the study suggests that an increasing number of young tycoons are amassing wealth predominantly through inheritance rather than through their own entrepreneurial endeavours.

According to a UBS report, out of the 137 individuals who achieved billionaire status in the 12 months leading up to April, 53 inherited a collective sum of $150.8 billion (£119 billion) from their families.

This surpasses the total of $140.7 billion generated by the "84 new self-made" billionaires within the same time frame.

In the inaugural occurrence within the nine-year span of its annual report on the wealth of the top 0.00004% of society, the bank noted that "the succeeding generation of billionaires amassed a greater fortune through inheritance than through entrepreneurial pursuits".

This revelation challenges the widely held belief in meritocracy and the notion that hard work and innovative business acumen are the primary drivers of immense wealth.

The study further highlights that this trend is not confined to a specific industry but spans across various sectors, including technology, finance and real estate.

Traditional sectors known for fostering self-made success stories are now witnessing a shift towards wealth consolidation within familial circles.

Benjamin Cavalli, UBS Global Wealth Management's Head of Strategic Clients, said: "This is a trend we anticipate witnessing more frequently in the next two decades, as over 1,000 billionaires are set to transfer an estimated $5.2 trillion to their offspring."

The report highlighted the "growing significance of these families" across major geographical regions.

In the Asia-Pacific region, inheritors boasted an average wealth of $2 billion, surpassing entrepreneurs who held $1.6 billion.

In the Americas, inheritors were valued at $2.2 billion compared to entrepreneurs at $1.5 billion.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), inheritors' average wealth stood at $4.4 billion, double that of entrepreneurs at $2.2 billion.

While the study does not downplay the importance of entrepreneurial spirit, it does underscore the increasing significance of familial legacies and the role they play in shaping the financial landscape of the next generation of billionaires.

Critics argue that this trend may exacerbate economic inequality and hinder social mobility, as opportunities for wealth creation become concentrated within select family networks.

Facing pressure from some factions within his party, British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt opted not to announce a reduction in inheritance tax during his autumn statement last week.

The tax rate remained unchanged at 40 per cent for estates exceeding £325,000, affecting fewer than four per cent of the United Kingdom's wealthiest families.

Globally, the number of billionaires rose by seven per cent to 2,544, with their collective wealth increasing by nine per cent to reach $12 trillion, as reported by UBS.

This staggering sum is approximately four times greater than the GDP of the United Kingdom.

The UBS report emphasised that the considerable wealth already transferred to the next generation represents merely the beginning of a more extensive trend.

"As increasing numbers of the early tycoons age, responsibility is starting to transition to their heirs, setting the stage for potential future multi-generational billionaire families," UBS stated.

The report further indicated that the wealth transfer is underway and gaining momentum.

Anticipating the next two to three decades, the report projected that over 1,000 of today's billionaires, currently aged 70 or older, are likely to transfer more than $5.2 trillion to their heirs.

This estimation is derived by summing the wealth of the 1,023 billionaires within this age group.

Looking beyond the immediate future, the report highlighted that the extraordinary wealth stemming from the surge in entrepreneurial activity since the 1990s has laid the groundwork for successive generations of billionaire families.

UBS analysts posit that several factors contribute to this shift, including changing patterns of intergenerational wealth transfer, evolving tax landscapes and a growing emphasis on preserving family fortunes.

Advocates for wealth redistribution and progressive taxation policies argue that addressing these concerns is crucial to maintaining a fair and equitable society.

The emergence of a new generation of billionaires who derive the majority of their wealth from inheritances challenges preconceived notions about the nature of success and wealth creation.

It remains to be seen how societies will respond to these shifting dynamics and whether policy changes will be implemented to address the potential consequences of this evolving trend.