The fortunes of Britain’s richest people in Britain swelled over the last year despite concerns over the UK voting to leave the European Union.
The combined wealth of the top 500 of the Sunday Times Rich List, which ranks the 1,000 richest people in Britain, is greater than the £575.6 billion total wealth of the entire rich list in 2016.
The fortune of the top 500 people in the list jumped to £580.3 billion from April 26, 2016, until May 7 this year.
When the Sunday Times Rich List first began in 1989, it was dominated by aristocrats or people who had inherited wealth. But now most of the people at the top of the list are astronomically wealthy through self-made means, mainly property and manufacturing.
The people at the top of the list also do not necessarily make their fortunes from Britain, even if they live here. So when the pound tanked in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, and still remains remarkably low compared to decades previously, it can make it cheaper and more attractive to invest here. It also boosts profits for people who own or have stakes in companies that report in US dollars — which is a glut of the FTSE 100.
“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, the Compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List 2017.
“Yet we’re seeing more diversity in the Rich List. More women, more people from ethnic backgrounds and more from surprising walks of life, with egg farmers and pet-food makers lining up with private equity barons and hedge fund managers.”
For example, the Lakshmi owns the largest steel maker in the world ArcelorMittal, which is based out of Luxembourg. The group is global and reports in US dollars. With the US dollar strong against the pound, it helped boost the family’s wealth by £6.1 billion in just one year.
Meanwhile, stagnant wages and a weak pound, means the average Briton still finds it difficult to buy a home. But considering we all need somewhere to live, those who are massively rich and can snap up a hundreds of properties and either rent or sell them on, are making a fortune.
For example, former Morgan Stanley banker John Grayken, 60, bought London-based property firm Quintain via his private equity firm Lone Star and now he owns property around the lucrative area Wembley stadium. Not only does he own the London Designer Outlet and Wembley Arena, he also has planning permission for 5,500 homes in the area.