Britain’s richest individuals: The battle between entrepreneurs and heirs

The latest round-up of 1,000 wealthiest people in the UK shows the UK plays host to 120 billionaires worth a total of £343.9bn.

But our analysis of the top 100 shows just one third have gained their riches through the struggles of starting a small business while more than half have made a living from inheritance or climbing the corporate ladder.

Our research shows that of the top 100; 49 inherited their wealth, 34 are entrepreneurs, eight happen to have climbed the corporate ladder, while nine have started their own successful business in a similar field after leaving a high-powered job.

What a difference a decade makes

Top of the list are the Reuben brothers. The property and metal trading tycoons are self-made billionaires having moved from Mumbai to London in the 1950s and made their fortune investing in Russian metals market during the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

They can technically be classed as entrepreneurs, although they have not created a unique product or different business, as most of their money is made from trading and property.

The makeup of the list has barely changed in the past decade. In 2006 the Reuben brothers were the eighth richest in the UK with steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal at number one. His wealth has fallen from £14.8bn to £7bn in a decade – he is now the eleventh richest in the UK.

The main difference has been that those at the top, particularly with inherited wealth, have seen their value grow.

The list does slightly reflect the changes in dominant industries. Retailer Philip Green was the fifth richest in 2006 at £4.9bn, he is now the 29th richest, worth £3.2bn.

You also now need to be richer to get a mention – in 2006 you needed £60m to get into the rich list, now you need £103m.

The top eight territories where you can find the ultra-rich population

Inherited wealth

Of the top ten, six have inherited their wealth, such as the Hinduja Brothers. Now worth £13bn and the second richest in the UK, their business, which invests in industries such as property, oil and healthcare, started as part of a family empire in 1914.

Others such as Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel De Carvalho, the seventh richest in the UK, have inherited money from the Heineken beer brand.

Even those who can be classed as entrepreneurial in the top ten are not actually offering a product or service but have made money from clever investment or business strategy. For example, Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov is the tenth richest in the UK, worth £7.5bn, having made is money through mining.

Continue reading on the next page for a breakdown of the top ten richest individuals in the UK and what got them there, as well as a look at “true entrepreneurs”.


Image: Shutterstock

Share this story

Close
Menu
Send this to a friend