Staffordshire might not seem like the most obvious place for a multi-billionaire. There’s nowhere to moor the yacht for a start.
The arrival of Kirsty Bertarelli straight in at number one means all the top three spots on the Birmingham Post Rich List 2009 are taken up by wealthy citizens of the county.
The triumvirate of Mrs Bertarelli, mobile phone magnate John Caudwell and JCB boss Sir Anthony Bamford between them have about £9billion stuffed beneath the mattress.
This is a testament to the money-making skills of the residents of the northern parts of the Midlands.
With the greatest respect to Bamford, Caudwell and co, the arrival of the former Miss United Kingdom and chart-topping hit writer adds a bit of glamour to the list, a bit of a change compared to the usual line-up of aristocrats, technocrats and business moguls that populate the list.
But that seems like more or less the only change.
Given the financial turmoil that has put paid to so many big company names worldwide last year, it might come as a surprise to see the rich list virtually unchanged – with the exception of singular cases like Mrs Bertarelli, it’s largely the same names, largely with the same amount of money.
The top ten looks pretty similar to the one last year, and of the names there, only Sir Anthony has made serious progress with his fortune.
There have been no fortunes made – or lost – in the last year.
Showing the kind of natural canniness necessary to become one of the super-rich, the Midlands moguls saw the signs of the economic storm coming – and battened the hatches accordingly.
While construction in general, and housebuilding in particular, have been devastated by the financial downturn this year, both John Bloor and David Wilson managed to hold on to their assets.
Bloor Homes started offering equity support schemes to take the strain off struggling homebuyers.
And Mr Wilson got out just in time – selling his 30 per cent stake in Wilson Bowden to rivals Barratt.
In his book Richistan, Wall Street Journal writer Robert Frank said the super-rich essentially live in another country.
What looks apparent from the list in today’s Birmingham Post is that Richistan – perhaps uniquely – is a country that’s missed out on the recession facing the rest of the world.