Just 10 years ago, it took just about $1.2 billion USD to break the UK’s top 50 money elite; today it takes about $2.9 billion. According to the newest Sunday Times Rich List, published just last week, 2014 is the first year the country houses over 100 billionaires —104 to be exact, and they have a combined wealth of over $507 billion.
The UK has more billionaires per capita than any other country in the world and London houses more billionaires than any city full stop. Since last year alone the country added 16 new billionaires and $94 billion among their personal net worth, despite the government raising its fees slightly for tax exempt “non-domiciled” billionaires. Legally speaking, most of the billionaires on this list aren’t permanent UK residents, so they pay little or no income tax at all. Instead, a fee of about $84,000 USD for long term non-domiciled tax exemptions in the UK calls it square. According to analysts, the growing billionaire list refutes warnings that raising fees on tax havens sends the wealthy running for the hills. In reality, that $84,000 fee would equal about .008% of tax on a billion dollars of income.
Of course, not all that income gets made in the UK, hence the exemption on gains not remitted to the country. But these fixed, comparatively minuscule fees have clearly done little to deter billionaires from doing business in London; making the rich pay a little more for their tax-strategic residence, it turns out, won’t topple the economy. The plates have also shifted slightly within UK’s moneyed heights: Since last year, 7 of Britain’s 10 richest saw their net worth rise by more money than you and everyone you know will probably make in your combined lifetimes. The three unlucky ones, on the other hand, each shed the GDP of a small country, and new names occupy the number one position. Again, because many of these list members aren’t legally “domiciled” in the UK, they pay little or no income tax. Here for your endless jealousy and bemusement, we present the vast personal fortunes of Britain’s ten richest people in 2014.
10 The Duke of Westminster: $14.34 billion
62-year-old Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, is the UK’s richest landlord and the third-richest UK-born in residence. As the biggest property developer in the country, his net worth rose about $1.18 billion USD in the last year thanks to the booming real estate market in central London. The former Army officer also owns 190 acres by Buckingham Palace, and some hundred thousand-and-change in Scotland, Spain and elsewhere in England. The Duke of Westminster family-owned Grosvenor Group reports about $20 billion in assets.
9 Roman Abramovich: $14.37 billion
May your prayers be with the UK’s 9th richest man, whose stake in steel industry giant Evraz fell by two-thirds of its value in 2013. Abramovich, owner of the UK’s Chelsea soccer team, a Boeing 767 and the world’s largest yacht, somehow lost $1.31 billion since last year. That didn't stop the Russian metal and oil tycoon from booking an entire Israeli luxury hotel for a family holiday just last month. As the main owner of private investment firm Millhouse LLC, Abramovich also remains the 5th richest man in Russia.
8 Kirsten and Jorn Rausing: $14.85 billion
Brother and sister inheritors of the Swiss-based packaging group Tetra Leval are shooting up UK’s wealth ladder. Sitting on the board of one of the world’s biggest food packaging, processing and distribution companies, the two siblings’ net worth grew a baffling $6.23 billion since last year and earned them four more notches on the list. Elder sister Kirsten (pictured above) spends her days breeding and racing horses at one of her three stud farms in Suffolk County.
7 David and Simon Reuben: $15.8 billion
Like the Duke of Westminster, brother real estate moguls David and Simon Reuben have been making very good under the UK housing market’s best growth in years. Since selling their metals business, the siblings have been going strong with ventures in hotels, resorts, airports, pubs, banking, clothing, natural resources and philanthropic causes; so strong they decided to pay themselves a billion dollars in dividends last December through their global data center company, Global Switch.
6 John Fredriksen and family: $15.61 billion
John Fredriksen, Norwegian-born oil tycoon, owns the largest fleet of oil tankers in the world. From his London mansion he manages an empire which includes major offshore drilling company Seadrill, fish farmers Marine Harvest, dry bulk enterprise Golden Ocean Group, and the shipping vessel firm Deep Sea Supply. Given gas prices these days, it’s no wonder his net worth grew about $759 million since last year.
5 Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli: $9.75 billion
How’s this for an anniversary present: A custom 314-foot yacht with a helicopter pad, a swimming pool and a “fold-down beach club” (so you can fold it away in between beach clubbing). Swiss-Italian pharmaceutical and biotech magnate Ernesto Bertarelli reportedly commissioned the monster for his wife, former Miss UK Kirsty Bertarelli, to replace their old yacht in 2012 — in other words, just ‘cause — and it costs over $420,000 to fill the fuel tanks. Hopefully the yachting couple’s $2.35 billion net worth increase from last year doesn't mean another one of these is on the way.
4 Len Blavatnik: $16.87 billion
What do oil, chemicals, music and real estate have in common? Ukrainian-born UK citizen Len Blavatnik, is what. He's the man who owns the companies that own the companies that own the companies you've actually heard of. As well as giants like LyondellBasell chemical company and Acision mobile communications, Access Industries (which Blavatnik chairs) controls Warner Music Group — meaning Warner Bros. Records, Parlophone, Atlantic and other leading record labels— with multi-billion dollar turnovers annually. Even with Blavatnik’s $1.69 billion slip since last year, we doubt he’s having a hard time.
3 Lakshmi Mittal and family: $17.29 billion
Lakshmi Mittal owns 38% of the world’s largest and currently troubled steel company ArcelorMittal. He was 2011’s sixth richest person in the world before he lost a staggering $10.4 billion the following year. He’s since put one of his three mansions on London’s billionaires’ row up for sale, and probably regretted hiring Kylie Minogue for his now-divorced daughter’s wedding — the estimated second most expensive in history which ran up a wine tab alone of $1.5 million. Yes, hard times are befalling the Mittal family, whose net worth grew a paltry $438.65 million since last year.
2 Alisher Usmanov: $17.97 billion
This just in: Russia’s richest man is no longer UK’s richest man. Uzbek-born British citizen Usmanov’s insane personal holdings — which run the gamut of metals, telecommunications, media and British football — fell a whole $4.47 billion this past year, which was, in fact, enough to drop him a notch on the Sunday Times Rich List. While his steel assets seem to be going the way of Lakshmi Mittal’s lately, his ubiquitous holdings in Russian media, telecoms and international tech (including $200 million in Facebook shares and a former Apple venture) will keep him more than afloat in these hard economic times.
1 Sri and Gopi Hinduja: $20.08 billion
Making $2.19 billion last year alone, the Indian-born Hinduja brothers land the title of Britain’s richest billionaires of 2014 with over $20 billion net worth. Spanning 37 countries, the Hinduja empire includes automobiles, finance, oil, renewable and nonrenewable energy, media, chemicals, medicine and education, not to mention a $500 million, 67,500-square-foot piece of historical real estate next door to Buckingham Palace.