By Sheila Dang for Reuters / IOL
Forbes’ annual world’s billionaires list includes a record-breaking 2,755 billionaires, with Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos topping it for the fourth consecutive year, the media company said on Tuesday.
The ranks of the ultra-wealthy are expanding after a year in which the coronavirus pandemic upended world economies and threatened the livelihoods of people across the globe.
This year’s billionaires are worth a combined $13.1 trillion (R190.08 trillion), up from $8 trillion last year, Forbes said.
“The very, very rich got very, very richer,” said Forbes’ chief content officer Randall Lane, in an interview with Reuters Video News.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk jumped into second spot on the list, up from 31st last year.
Bernard Arnault, chief executive of luxury goods firm LVMH, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg round out the top five of the world’s richest billionaires.
Investor and business tycoon Warren Buffett fell out of the top five for the first time in over two decades, as tech executives dominate the Forbes rankings.
This year’s list has 493 newcomers, including Whitney Wolfe Herd, chief executive of dating app Bumble, which went public this year.
The 10 most wealthy people in the world are:
- Jeff Bezos
- Elon Musk
- Bernard Arnault
- Bill Gates
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Warren Buffet
- Larry Ellison
- Larry Page
- Sergey Brin
- Mukesh Ambani
According to the 2019 South African Wealth Report by New World Wealth, South Africa’s richest people are:
- Diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, with a net worth of $7.3 billion
- Luxury goods boss Johann Rupert, with a net worth of $5.5 billion
- Mining and minerals tycoon Patrice Motsepe, with a net worth of $2.4 billion
- Media mogul Koos Bekker, with a net worth of $2.3 billion
- Capitec founder Michiel le Roux, with a net worth of $1.2 billion
Here are some stats on the wealthy, as per The Citizen:
- South Africa has 40 000 dollar millionaires
- There are five dollar billionaires living in the country
- Nine more dollar billionaires were born in SA but no longer live here, such as Douw Steyn
- 16 600 dollar millionaire call Johannesburg home
- Total private wealth held by people in SA totals $649-billion
- SA is the 31st largest wealth market in the world
- There are about 2 200 homes in South Africa valued at more than R20-million – and Johannesburg and Cape Town have 900 of them
- The most expensive streets in the country are in Cape Town, with property fetching R90 000 a square metre
- Financial and professional services (30%), real estate (16%) and tech and telecoms (9%) account for the sectors where the rich made their money
- The most lucrative university degrees in terms of percentages of high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are law (28%), finance and economics (19%) and accounting (9%)
- An estimated 3 000 HNWIs have emigrated from South Africa in the past 10 years
A new set of data taken from an offshore law firm again threatens to expose the hidden wealth of individuals and show how corporations, hedge funds and others may have skirted taxes. A year after the Panama Papers, a massive leak of confidential information from the Bermuda law firm Appleby Group Services, dubbed the Paradise Papers, has shone another light on the use of offshore accounts.
Here are the highlights so far of the reporting by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and partner news outlets on the so-called Paradise Papers. Bloomberg hasn’t seen the leaked documents:
- The rich may be richer than you thought. Jim Simons, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, has amassed more than $7.5 billion in a previously undisclosed, four-decade-old fund set up in Bermuda. Warren Stephens, an Arkansas banker and Republican donor, used a Bermuda-based family trust to reduce his tax bill and conceal his interest in a payday lender under US scrutiny. And George Soros, a liberal investor who has contributed to the ICIJ, used Appleby to manage a company that carried out reinsurance transactions that can be used to shield wealth from taxes.
- More than a dozen members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and top economic adviser Gary Cohn, held undisclosed offshore companies. Robert Mercer, a Republican donor who just said he would step down as Renaissance Technology’s co-CEO, was revealed to be a director of more than eight of RenTech’s offshore subsidiaries, who used other offshore firms to shelter money his family funneled to political causes. The Blackstone Group, co-founded by Trump economic adviser Stephen Schwarzman, used trusts and companies registered in tax havens to avoid paying taxes on two UK commercial
- After Irish officials closed a tax loophole that had allowed Apple to avoid billions of dollars in taxes, the US tech giant enlisted international law firms to help it find a new tax home and settled in the English Channel island of Jersey, the New York Times reported. The documents helped solve a two-year mystery of where the world’s biggest company by market capitalisation is booking a big share of its revenue.
- Want to register a private jet in the US? Bank of Utah manages more than 1 390 aircraft trust accounts that obscure the identities of the jets’ (largely foreign) owners, the New York Times reported. Among the wealthy foreigners said to use the bank’s services: Russian oligarch Leonid Mikhelson, an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin whose gas company is under US sanctions.
- US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross faces questions about his financial disclosures to Congress and the government after a report that he didn’t disclose business ties to the son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin and an oligarch under US sanctions. The Appleby documents included details of Ross’s stake in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, according to the New York Times.
- House Republicans should slow down their consideration of a tax-overhaul bill after the investigative reports alleged offshore tax-avoidance by US multinational companies including Apple and Nike, congressional Democrats and tax-advocacy groups said.
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it’s reviewing the documents and will take action against any financial institution or individual that breaches regulations. The regulator made the remarks on Wednesday after the consortium said that some of the files came from Asiaciti, a Singapore-based family-owned trust company. Asiaciti denied any wrongdoing.
- Canadian tax authorities are reviewing reports linking a key fundraiser for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to offshore trusts in the Caribbean. Montreal-based businessman Stephen Bronfman, son of billionaire Charles Bronfman, was among the individuals cited by news organisations including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio-Canada and the Toronto Star in Sunday’s leak of bank documents.
Commodities trader Glencore Plc was one of the top clients of Appleby, which even had a “Glencore Room” at its Bermuda office that kept information on the trader’s 107 offshore companies, according to the ICIJ investigation. (Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.)
- Prominent Silicon Valley investor Yuri Milner, who was an early backer of Facebook Inc., partnered in two investments with the Russian state-controlled bank VTB Bank PJSC before it was sanctioned, his spokesman confirmed Friday. Details about the relationship between Milner and VTB surfaced in the wake of the Paradise Papers.
- Indonesian authorities are investigating if former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and the children of ex-dictator Suharto, named in the leaked documents, are in breach of the country’s tax laws.
- A North Korean was listed in the leaked documents as a shareholder in a Malta-based company which may have been involved in the overseas transfer of North Korean construction workers, according to Newstapa, a South Korean partner of the ICIJ.
- Queen Elizabeth II of the UK made a series of investments in a Cayman Islands fund through the British Royal Family’s private estate, the Duchy of Lancaster, according to The Guardian newspaper.
- Lord Michael Ashcroft, a major donor to the UK’s Conservative Party, had links to a Bermuda-based trust with assets worth as much as $450 million, The Guardian reported.
- The Dutch Finance Ministry said it will review whether more than 4 000 cross-border tax rulings were issued in accordance with procedures. The decision follows the publication of an article in Het Financieele Dagblad reporting that correct procedures weren’t followed in an agreement between the Dutch tax authority and Procter & Gamble Co. “P&G has fully transparent relationships with governments and tax administrations worldwide,” the company said in a statement. “We may seek confirmation from governments and tax administrations that our interpretation of tax laws is correct. This is what was done in this instance.
Source: Marcus Wright for MoneyWeb / Bloomberg
How much do you have to earn to live in South Africa’s richest suburbs and drive that brand new Maserati? The answer‚ to be precise‚ is R327 800 per month.
Lightstone‚ a property research company‚ has compiled some eyebrow-raising scenarios that break down what salary one needs in order to afford a house and car in certain suburbs around the country.
On the lower end of the scale‚ a salary of R6 300 is required to acquire a house in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape‚ Hillbrow in Gauteng or Wasbank in KwaZulu-Natal and park a second-hand 0.8 litre Chery QQ3 in the garage.
The company based its data on a mortgage that would account for no more than 30% of an individual’s gross monthly salary. The mortgage was calculated over a period of 20 years without a deposit. And for cars‚ they chose to cap expenses at 20% of a monthly salary with no deposit.
The data come from various sources “including all the property transactions taking place in the country as recorded by the registrar of deeds … to statistically derive a value on each of the 6,3-million residential properties in South Africa”‚ says Lightstone’s analytics director Paul-Roux de Kock.
Also used as a benchmark was CareerJunction’s latest salary data for South Africa.
The lowest property prices are in the Eastern Cape with a mean value of R380 000.
According to the report: “To afford a luxury beach property with a median value range of R11 700 000 in Llandudno (Cape Town)‚ you’d need a monthly salary of R389 400. A property of R7 200 000 within the coastal estate of Zimbali (near Durban) would require a salary of at least R239 600‚ and a property of around R8 350 000 in De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate (Western Cape) would require a salary of R277 900.”
An earlier Lightstone report, titled Homeowners will lose wealth for the first time since 2011, found that property prices had devalued below inflation for the first time since 2011.
“This means that not only will every rand invested in a home by the start of 2016 be worth much less by the end of the year‚ but it will also prompt the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee to push up the repo rate to try to keep consumer price inflation below the 6% target‚” the report found.
According to CareerJunction‚ a chemical engineer — the lowest-paying engineering profession according to the website — with a starting monthly salary of R27 404 could comfortably afford to live in Krugersdorp West‚ Lancaster Hill or Grabouw and drive a Hyundai i20.
But a person working as a teller or a cashier for R6 189 would be lucky to afford a property in Hillbrow and drive a second hand Chery QQ3.
By Aron Hyman for www.bdlive.co.za