Having seen their wealth soar 30% in 2010 to ’334 billion, still recovering from 2008's low, Britain’s richest 1000 have continued to flourish
It’s that time of the year again when Britain-based HNWs either pray for publicity or cry for secrecy. The Sunday Times Rich List, voraciously followed by the masses, offers no middle ground.
The headlines this year are that the rich have got richer. Having seen their wealth soar 30% in 2010 to £334 billion, still recovering from 2009's low, Britain’s richest 1000 have continued to flourish. Rising commodity prices and resurgent emerging economies have led to a rise of 18% in total wealth. This is still some way off 2008's £413 billion.
Lakshmi Mittal came top for the seventh year running. Not bad considering he lost c£5 billion on the back of the steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s profit margins being squeezed by surging raw material costs.
That said, one man’s gain is another man’s loss and thus commodity inflation helped Alisher Usmanov, quarter owner of Russia’s largest iron-ore producer Metalloinvest, to jump to second place with £12.4 billion. Recent investments in Facebook and Arsenal football club will make the 57 year old one to watch in 2011.
As for segments, one theme stood out: the triumph of women. For the first time in the Rich List’s 22 year history, they made up more than one in ten of the list. Pharma boss Kirsty Bertarelli – a former Miss UK – came fifth overall with £6.9 billion, thanks to her family's fortune, while Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, became the first self-made female billionaire.
Although HNWs typically treat 'revelations' like these with scepticism, tax developments such as HMRC’s amnesties with Liechtenstein and Switzerland will lead to more wealth being revealed, if not to the public then at least to the taxman.
1. Lakshmi Mittal and Family Steel 17.5
2. Alisher Usmanov Steel, Mines 12.4
3. Roman Abramovich Oil 10.3
4. The Duke of Westminster Property 7
5. Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli Pharmaceuticals 6.9
6. Leonard Blavatnik Industry 6.2
7. John Fredriksen and family Shipping 6.2
8. David and Simon Reuben Property 6.2
9. Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja Industry 6
10. Galen and George Weston Retail 6