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The rich list: Top 5 wealthiest people and families in Wales

THE wealthiest individuals in Wales have been unveiled, featuring the couple behind an opticians chain and property moguls, according to this year’s edition of The Sunday Times Rich List.

The list, updated annually, ranks the 350 wealthiest people in the UK and has been published in a special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine since 1989. This year’s combined wealth of individuals and families amounts to £795.361 billion, exceeding the annual GDP of Poland.

The survey is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, and significant shares in publicly-quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, which are not accessible to the paper.

The 2024 edition has recorded the largest drop in the number of billionaires in its 36-year history. From a peak of 177 billionaires in 2022, the number has fallen to 165 in the UK this year.

Robert Watts, who compiled the list, commented that this indicates “Britain’s billionaire boom has come to an end.” He explained: “Many of our home-grown entrepreneurs have seen their fortunes fall, and some of the global super-rich who came here are moving away. Thousands of British livelihoods rely on the super-rich to some extent. We’ll have to wait and see whether we have now reached peak billionaire and what that means for our economy.”

The minimum entry this year is £350 million, and notable figures include Sir Elton John, Lord Lloyd-Webber, and David and Victoria Beckham. The list is categorised by regions, with inclusion based on a person’s place of birth, the location of one of their main businesses, or a high-profile asset in an area.

Some of the wealthiest people in Wales identified in the latest 76-page magazine are under 40 years old. They include Cardiff-born footballer Gareth Bale, Au Vodka founder Charlie Morgan from Swansea, and CEO of Net World Sports Alex Lovén.

However, topping the list of the five richest individuals or families in Wales—worth over £10 billion collectively—are venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz and his novelist wife Harriet Heyman. Moritz’s wealth has grown by more than £1 billion since last year, reaching over £4.5 billion. The other four wealthiest entries have also retained their rankings from last year.

The five wealthiest individuals or families in Wales according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2024 are:

1. Sir Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman

    Source of wealth: Internet (Sequoia)

    2024 wealth: £4.603bn

    Yearly difference: Up £1.27b

      Former journalist Sir Michael Moritz, 69, born in Cardiff, joined US investment house Sequoia Capital in 1986. He amassed his billions by making early investments in companies like Google, PayPal, WhatsApp, and YouTube. Moritz stepped down from running Sequoia Capital in 2012 for health reasons. He and his wife established the Crankstart foundation, supporting students from low-income families. In 2020, the foundation donated $120 million. Since 2005, The Sunday Times has produced an annual Giving List as part of the Rich List, tracking the most generous philanthropists in the UK. Moritz and Heyman are the most charitable people in Wales this year, donating more than 4% of their wealth to charitable causes, placing them in the top 10 most charitable in the UK.

      2. Simon Nixon

      Source of wealth: Internet and property (MoneySuperMarket)

      2024 wealth: £1.88bn

      Yearly difference: Up £55m

      Simon Nixon, 56, who grew up in Flintshire, remains in second place. He made his fortune from the price-comparison website MoneySuperMarket, which he co-founded in 1993, selling all his shares by 2016. Nixon also profits from his holiday home website, Simon Escapes, through which people can rent his collection of luxury homes worldwide, from Cornwall to Malibu.

      3. Douglas and Dame Mary Perkins and family

      Husband and wife Douglas Perkins, born in Llanelli, and Dame Mary Perkins, 80, founded Specsavers from their spare bedroom. They revolutionised the opticians’ experience, making it more akin to shopping than a medical visit, and turned it into a highly profitable international business. This year’s £21 million increase in their fortune coincided with the opening of the 1,000th Specsavers store.

        4. Sir Terry Matthews

        Born in Newport, Sir Terry, 80, known as Wales’ first billionaire, has founded over 100 companies. He was the richest man in Wales until overtaken by Sir Michael Moritz in 2012. He holds a degree in electronics from Swansea University and later co-founded the telecommunications company Mitel in Ontario, Canada, in 1973. He owns the Celtic Manor resort in Newport, which he purchased in 1980.

        5. David Sullivan and family

        Source of wealth: Property, football, and media (Conegate)

        2024 wealth: £1.168bn

        Yearly difference: Up £50m

        Born in Cardiff, David Sullivan, 75, became a millionaire by 25 through selling pornographic content. By the late 1970s, he controlled half of the UK’s adult magazine market and 150 sex shops. In 1982, he was convicted of living off immoral earnings and spent 71 days in prison. In a 2012 interview with the Standard, he stated he did not “feel embarrassed” by how he made his money.

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