UK billionaires top 100 for the first time

A new report by the Sunday Times Rich List shows that UK billionaires top 100 for the first time. As of May 11th 2014, there are 104 billionaires living in the UK versus 88 in 2013 – their combined wealth exceeds £301bn ($507 billion) compared to £245 billion ($413 billion) last year.

The United Kingdom has the highest density of billionaires in the world, i.e. there are more billionaires per head of population than anywhere else. There is one billionaire for every 607,000 Brits, compared to 1 for every million in the United States.

There are more billionaires in London (72) than any other city worldwide; Moscow comes second with 48.

Sri and Gopie Hinduja top the list

Sri and Gopie Hinduja, the Indian-born brothers, are the richest in the UK with a net worth of £11.9 billion ($20.04 billion). They own the conglomerate Hinduja Group, which was founded in 1914 in Mumbai, India, then moved to Iran in 1919. During the 1979 Islamic Revolution the company was moved to London.

Russian business magnate Alisher Usmanov is second. He built his wealth through investments, metal and mining operations. He is also a major shareholder in London’s Arsenal Football Club. His fortune is estimated at £10.65 billion.

Russian oligarchs have slid down the list of the UK’s richest people as sanctions imposed by the West on Russia wipes billions off their wealth. Usmanov, who was the richest person living in the UK last year, saw his fortune fall by £2.65 billion ($4.46 billion) during the past twelve months.

According to the Sunday Times (subscription required), the minimum wealth of the 50 richest individuals in the UK is now more than £1.5 billion ($2.53 billion); the first time since 2008.

For a person to be included in the UK’s richest 50 today they need a fortune of at least £1.7 ($2.86) billion, compared to £700 million ($1.179 billion) in 2004.

Jon Hunt, founder of real estate company Foxtons, joins the group with a net worth of £1.07 billion ($1.8 billion). Sir Cameron Mackintosh, a West End producer, is now worth £1 billion ($1.68 billion).

Owners of the Perenco oil and gas operation, Carrie and Francois Perrodo, worth £6.14 billion ($10.34 billion) are the wealthiest new entry.

Why are billionaires attracted to the UK?

In an interview with the BBC, author of the list Philip Beresford, said billionaires are attracted to the UK because of its:

  • Favorable tax regime.
  • Good education for the children.
  • “A nice lifestyle where they meet their friends.”

Bill Gates richest person on earth

According to Forbes Magazine in March 2014, Bill Gates took the number 1 spot as the wealthiest person in the world, followed by Mexico’s telecom tycoon Carlos Slim. Amancio Ortega, owner of the Zara fashion stores, came in at third place, while Warren Buffet was fourth. Bill Gates is estimated to be worth $76 billion.

Forbes estimates there are currently over 1,645 billionaires worldwide. To be included among the 20 richest people on the planet you need to have a net worth of at least $31 billion, compared to $23 billion in 2013.