Family businesses are crucial to wealth creation in the UK as demonstrated by the latest Sunday TimesRich List, where more than half of the top 100 richest people had family companies to thank for their fortunes.
Led by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and his family, worth £12.7 billion (€15.6 billion), the top 100 boasts 53 people and families that owe their wealth to family-run groups, accounting for a total of £140 billion.
At the 99th position was the media family of Viscount Rothermore, which controls the Daily Mail and General Trust, with a fortune of £760 million.
Their contribution to the UK economy is important, but Philip Beresford, the man behind the 1,000-strong rich list, reckons those further down the list are more crucial to the health of the UK economy.
“If you get below the top 100 and ignore all the Russians etc, who are in reality temporary London residents, the list is 80% those who have either created their own fortunes from business or built on what they have inherited,” he told CampdenFB. “They are critical to the British economy for general wealth creation as well as their own.”
Many of those with wealth of £750 million or below were also from family-managed groups. “I would contend that the jobs of the future will not come from the public sector or the blue chip companies, which forever seem to be closing factories around Britain or offices to relocate abroad,” said Beresford.
Citing the example of entrepreneur Chris Dawson, ranked 230th on the rich list with a wealth of £380 million, Beresford reckons it will be the likes of him who will make a transforming impact on the British economy.
Dawson, who heads up The Range discount stores, is planning to hire 2,000 people this year as he expands his operations.
“For Britain as a whole, we have to learn to love wealth creation again and not indulge in class war. Leave that to France,” added Beresford.
The top 10 on the list included the Hinduja brothers Srichand and Gopichand, worth £8.6 billion and ranked fourth, and the husband-wife team of Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, who had pharmaceutical group Serono to thank for their £7.4 billion fortune. The couple, ranked sixth, sold the family business in 2006 for $13 billion.
The eighth, ninth and 10th positions were also taken by members of family-run groups. David and Simon Reuben, often called the ‘tsar brothers’ due to their involvement in the metal industry, were worth £7.08 billion; Norway’s Fredriksen family had a fortune of £6.6 billion due to its oil and shipping company; and the Weston family – which runs Canada’s George Weston food group and Britain’s Associated British Foods – ranked 10th with wealth of £5.9 billion.
Others among the richest 100 included the family behind brewing giant Heineken, the Bamford manufacturing family, the Barclay brothers of the Telegraph Media Group, and the Graff family, which owns a Hong Kong-listed diamond company.