The latest analysis of the world’s billionaires US wealth magazine Forbes reveals that Britain’s wealthiest have seen their fortunes soar, writes Sam Forsdick
The collective wealth of Britain’s billionaires has reached £199.2 billion – a $55 billion rise on the previous year, according to the US wealth bible Forbes. The growth in the combined fortune of Britain’s elite UHNWs reflects the strengthening position of sterling against the dollar since the end of 2017.
Only 54 Brits made Forbes' comprehensive list of global billionaires, unchanged on the previous year. Meanwhile the global tally grew from 2,043 to 2,208 - an increase of 7.5 per cent on 2017.
Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, tops the list. His fortune rose to $112 billion, making him the first to break the 12 figure mark to become a centi-billionaire. He jumped up two places from the 2017 rankings to take the top spot from Bill Gates who had held the title for the previous four years.
Only three Brits make the top 100 – the Hinduja family, James Ratcliffe and David and Simon Reuben. The Hinduja siblings, who made their fortune through the automotive industry and financial services, are estimated to be worth $19.6 billion. Ineos chemicals CEO, Ratcliffe is worth $16.4 billion and the Reuben brothers, real estate moguls and metal business owners, have a net worth of $15.5 billion. Richard Branson is perhaps the UK’s most well-known billionaire. However the Virgin Atlantic boss only comes in at number 388 on the list with a net worth of £5 billion.
Men still outnumber women when it comes to having the biggest fortunes. Denise Coates, founder and joint CEO of Bet 365, and Maritsa Lazari are the only two British women to make the list. No women made the global top 10 on the global rich list. The highest placed woman was Alice Walton – daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton – who was placed 16th on $46 billion.
The results also revealed that the most consistent way to break into the billionaire club is through finance and investment. Of the 2,208 billionaires listed, 310 (14 per cent) made their billions through finance, more than any other industry. This includes hedge fund managers, equity owners and cryptocurrency investors – Chris Larsen, founder of Ripple, and Changpeng Zhao, of Binance, became the first crypto-billionaires.
The list is calculated through wealth surveys which are then scrutinised by assessing business dealings, valuable assets and stock. This is then verified through interviews to vet the figures.
Sam Forsdick is a writer at Spear's