The credit crunch and recession are beginning to have an impact on the wealth of the wealthiest Midlanders, the latest Birmingham Post Rich List will show on Wednesday.
Without giving too much away, the report, compiled for the third year running by journalist Ian Strachan, finds one or two familiar names missing.
More sensationally, the Midlands’ richest person – by a wide margin – is a debutant, having rocketed from nowhere to a multi-billion-pound fortune.
There are no fewer than five new entrants from a range of business sectors in this year’s list of the richest 50 and their families
This year’s list highlights just how much wealth is concentrated in one largely unregarded Midland county.
It shows the comparative resilience of manufacturing, although the report was drawn up before the recession really began to bite.
“Anyone involved in property, particularly residential property and house builders, will have suffered in comparison with last year’s Rich List,” said Strachan. “The industrial and commercial property sector took a lot longer to begin to decline so they have been protected from the downturn for longer than residential property.”
Despite that, the list – this year at least – continues to be weighted in favour of commercial property developers.
“The downturn in property values has clearly had an impact and some fortunes have slipped, or remained static.” Strachan said. “Some in the property world – particularly residential – have fallen off altogether. Those who have preserved their positions are the ones who disposed of property while values were high, or kept their cash in the bank and resisted the temptation to splash out on deteriorating assets.
“However, the overall effect of the credit crunch has not hit our multi-millionaires as much as you might imagine.
“A combination of looking after cash, wise investments, spreading the risk and giving the customer exactly what they want has protected the fortunes of many of our super rich. The people in our list are not there for nothing.
“They know how to look after their money and they’ve seen recessions come and go before.”
Among the winners this year, one hotelier has moved up 16 places after seeing his wealth grow by 192 per cent while an aviation tycoon has gained nine places with a rise of 140 per cent.
In contrast, a retailer and his family have slipped 12 places on the back of a 23 per cent fall in their worth.
Some of last year’s entrants have slipped out of the list by virtue of the fact that the entry level has been raised by £10million to £70million, although the increase is lower than in previous years.
And Strachan added: “We can say with a degree of certainty that a fair number will slip out of list next year. Fortunes are reducing in value across all sectors.”