THE WEALTH DIARIES: The 2017 Sunday Times of London Rich List is out, ranking British — and international — billionaires and millionaires whose wealth reflects the shape-shifting world economy over the past 12 months.
The 29th annual edition of the list includes Britain’s 1,000 richest people, and the compilers argue that many of the 134 billionaires were able to amass even more wealth from the “post-Brexit boom” last year, which fueled the stock market and pushed down the value of the pound. New money, they said, came mainly from the city of London, property and manufacturing.
“While many of us worried about the outcome of the EU referendum, many of Britain’s richest people just kept calm and carried on making billions,” said Robert Watts, who compiled the list.
A sidebar to the main story is the International Rich List, which is even more interesting than the British one. At number one is the Walton family, owners of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., whose net worth is estimated to be 100.6 billion pounds, or $136.82 billion; at number four is Inditex owner Amancio Ortega, with a fortune of 63.5 billion pounds, or $86.36 billion; while at number 12, there’s Bernard Arnault, whose net worth is calculated to be 35.2 billion pounds, or $47.87 billion.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma ranks at 19, with a fortune of 26.7 billion pounds, or $36.31 billion. He is followed by Axel Dumas, whose family owns the publicly-quoted Hermes, with 22.2 billion pounds, or $30.19 billion. Samuel and Donald Newhouse, the owners of Condé Nast, are estimated to have a joint wealth of 19.9 billion pounds, or $27.06 billion. They are even richer than the Chanel owners Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, whose wealth is estimated to be 18.9 billion pounds, or $25.7 billion.
Number one on the British list are brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja, whose money comes from industry, oil, finance and the automotive business. Their combined wealth is 16.2 billion pounds, or $22.03 billion. The brothers are developing a five-star hotel in the Old War Office in Westminster, with a ballroom, pool, spa and two wine cellars, according to the paper.
Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, a former number one on the British list, came in at number four, his wealth estimated at 13.23 billion pounds, or $17.99 billion, while the Weston family — Guy, George and Galen Jr. — were ranked at number seven with a fortune of 10.5 billion pounds, or $14.28 billion, down 500 million pounds, or $680 million, due to a slide in share price of Associated British Foods, parent of Primark.
Nicholas Oppenheimer and his family ranked at number 19, with a wealth estimated at 5.53 billion pounds, or $7.52 billion, while Richard Branson is reported to be worth 4.87 billion pounds, or $6.62 billion. Newlyweds Alejandro Santo Domingo and Lady Charlotte Wellesley are newcomers to the list, ranking at 17 with a combined wealth of 3.86 billion pounds, or $5.25 billion.
Fancy yellow diamond experts and art collectors Laurence and Francois Graff are at number 33 with a joint fortune of 3.64 billion pounds, $4.95 billion, while François-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek, who now reside in London, came in at number 34, with a combined wealth of 3.44 billion pounds, or $4.68 billion. Overall, the Pinault family wealth is estimated to be 13.45 billion pounds, or $18.29 billion.
Sir Philip Green, who’s had a rough year due to the BHS pension drama, saw his ranking drop to number 41. His estimated wealth is now 2.79 billion pounds, or $3.79 billion. His fortune is estimated by the Sunday Times to have decreased by 433 million pounds, or $589 million, due to the hefty check he’s written to cover the BHS pension gap, as well as reduced assets and falling sales at his retailing group Arcadia.
Stephen Rubin and his family, owners of the sporting goods company Pentland, are ranked at number 52, with a wealth of 2.3 billion pounds, or $3.13 billion.
To put all those fortunes into context, Queen Elizabeth, who is still working, aged 91, is ranked at number 329 on the list, with a net worth of 360 million pounds, or $490 million. The money comes from her investment portfolio (mostly blue-chip British stocks) as well as personal property, such as land, jewels and inheritance.
Last week, her husband Prince Philip, announced he would retire in the autumn, following his 96th birthday next month.