By Ian Strachan
This year’s eagerly-awaited Birmingham Post Rich List is different to those of previous years. We’ve rewritten the “rules of engagement” to make it more geographically focussed on the West Midlands and more relevant to the economic heartbeat of the region.
Our tighter geographical focus means we are concentrating on the area covered by our three local enterprise partnerships: the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP which also covers a large part of Staffordshire and parts of Worcestershire, the Black Country LEP and the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP.
The 50 multi-millionaires on our 2014 list all have one thing in common – they either live, work or make a significant economic or cultural contribution to the areas covered by these three LEPs.
We have also put more emphasis on fortunes that are used to benefit or enrich the West Midlands and its immediate area, and less on inherited wealth which does little to improve the lives of people in the region.
So what does this change mean for our league table of Midlands wealth?
Inevitably, because it concentrates on a smaller geographical area, the amassed fortunes of our richest 50 add to up to less than previous years. But that said, the combined wealth of the 2014 Rich List stills totals £16.615 billion.
And we still have three billionaires at the top of our list; JCB billionaire Sir Anthony Bamford, head of Wolverhampton-based Caparo, Lord Paul and Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner.
The new rules also mean that the entry price for making the list has fallen.
But you’ll still need a personal fortune of at least £40 million to qualify for a place.
This does mean that we have some new faces in the this year’s list, like the inspiration behind the successful East End Foods business Tony Deep Wouhra, fan manufacturer David Ball and pharmaceutical millionaires, the Sodha brothers and Andrew and Linda Leaver.
We also have some returnees to the list who have been absent for a while, including property magnates Grahame Whateley and Paul Bassi, retail IT specialists Richard and Brenda Smith, developer Rupert Mucklow, Prodrive boss David Richards and chemist Christopher Taylor.
But our tighter geographical focus means that we lose some names who have been stalwarts on our list for some years, including previous number one and former beauty queen Kirsty Bertarelli and Phones4u billionaire John Caudwell.
They, along with songster Robbie Williams and Bet365’s Peter Coates, fall to the north of our region.
To the south we lost Viscount Portman who owns a large chunk of Herefordshire, while East Midlanders Will Adderley of Dunelm Mill, Sir David Samworth of Ginsters pie fame, retail giant Tony Wilkinson and fashion king Sir Paul Smith are also excluded for geographical reasons.
So how have personal fortunes fared over the last year? It’s fair to say that the millions that were wiped off fortunes in the lean years have been retrieved, and some.
And it’s nice to see that three of the top four places are taken by manufacturers, with manufacturing also represented by John Bloor, Constantine Folkes and David Ball.
Many on our list have made their money through property – either building it or investing in it. Generally speaking they were the biggest losers of the recession and the property slowdown, but now their fortunes are recovering.
Food is well-represented, led by the Boparan Singh’s whose 2Sisters food group has had its challenges but still grows.
As well as Tony Deep Wouhra we also have Woon Wing Yip increasing his fortune with the expansion of his niche range of Oriental foods, while food and drink distribution seals Raj Chatha of Walsall-based EFB into the list. for the first time.
The entertainment sector continues to make a contribution to the list, with Brum’s favourite rocker Ozzy Osbourne maintaining his fortune and Robert Plant continuing to tour and make money. Coventry-born Pop Svengali, railway enthusiast and Walsall FC fan Pete Waterman also makes a return to our list.
Sporting interests are represented by Randy Lerner, Steve Morgan and Sir Jack Hayward.
Charitable giving and philanthropy continue to feature prominently in our list. Our richest-of-the-rich still give a sizeable chunk of their fortunes to charities and good causes, almost without exception.
Lord Edmiston still tops the philanthropy league but many others on the list give large amounts of money and time to charitable causes.
A brief word about the rules of engagement for the 2014 Birmingham Post Rich List. In assessing who goes into the list and who stays out there is inevitably some subjectivity involved, and we can only work from publicly available information.
We looked at the personal wealth, property interests, shareholdings, company valuations, asset valuations, liabilities, and other known wealth of people who either live and/or work in the areas covered by the three local enterprise partnerships in our region, or who have major business interests here.
We took longevity and commitment to the economic wealth of the region into account.
The Rich List 2014
1. Sir Anthony Bamford £3.3 billion - Manufacturing
2. Lord Paul of Marylebone £2 billion - Manufacturing
3. Randy Lerner £1 billion - Banking/Football
4. Jacques Murray £850 million - Manufacturing
5. Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan £840 million - Food
6. Sir Peter Rigby £550 million -IT/Aerospace
7. John Bloor £520 million - Construction/Manufacturing
8. Steve Morgan £510 million -Construction/Football
9= Felix Dennis £500 million -Publishing
9= Kevin Cash £500 million -Property
11. The Mackie Family £490 million -Electrical Supplies
12= Caspar McDonald-Hall £450 million -Property
12= Tony Gallagher £450 million -Property
14. Lord Edmiston £440 million -Automotive/Property
15. Roy Richardson and family £395 million -Construction/Property
16. Jonathan Kendrick and family £330 million -Telecommunications
17. Sir Paul Ruddock £300 million -Finance
18. Paul Newey £230 million -Finance
19. Sir Euan Anstruther Gough-Calthorpe £165 million -Property
20. Richard Harpin £150 million -Insurance
21= Keith Bradshaw £145 million -Automotive/Care Homes
21= Peter Horton and family £145 million -Property
23. James Holder £140 million -Fashion
24= Alan Jackson £130 million -Telecommunications
24= Sir Jack Hayward £130 million -Football/Property
26= Constantine Folkes £120 million -Manufacturing/Property
26= Jo Bradwell £120 million -Pharmaceuticals
28. Simon Clarke and family £115 million -Property
29. Eric Grove £110 million -Property
30. Woon Wing Yip £105 million -Food
31= Ozzy Osbourne and family £100 million -Music
31= Alan and Wendy English £100 million -Conference Centres
33= Raj Chatha £95 million -Food and Drink
33= Richard and Brenda Smith £95 million -IT
35. Grahame Whateley £90 million -Property
36. Afzal and Shabir Alimahomed £85 million -Packaging
37. Andrew Cohen and family £84 million -Retail
38. Robert Plant £82 million -Music
39. Christopher Taylor and family £81 million -Pharmaceuticals
40= Paul Bassi £80 million -Property
40= Tony Deep Wouhra £80 million -Food
42. David Ball and family £76 million -Manufacturing
43. Andrew and Linda Leaver and family £75 million -Pharmaceuticals
44. Rupert Mucklow £70 million -Construction
45. David Richards £55 million -Automotive
46. Jim Leavesley and family £52 million -Property/Surplus