Today’s billionaires are thriving. That’s the main conclusion to be drawn from Leaders League’s first-ever Fortunes 100 ranking. In just one year, their combined net worth has gone up 15% to over 2.2 trillion dollars. Eye-catching results that are quite instructive. From luxury goods to mass distribution, energy to high tech, in any sector you care to look at, billionaires are building on their fortunes, and newcomers are creating theirs.
New money trumps old
Contrary to popular belief, the biggest fortunes in the world are not inherited but, by and large, earned. In our Fortunes 100 list, inherited wealth accounts for only 19% of the combined total, while entrepreneurial success accounts for almost four-fifths of the Fortune 100’s combined wealth. The companies that these men and women lead are all international giants thanks to the successful expansion strategies their directors have pursued.
Vive la France (et la Chine)
It is no accident that the sector to show the biggest increase in revenue is luxury goods. In China alone, year-on-year sales are up 24%, growth that has investors queuing up to pump their money into French luxury goods brands such as Hermès, Chanel and LVMH, lining the pockets of Bernard Arnault, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer and Axel Dumas in the process, who are all in the top 5 positions in our France list. Out in front of everyone, though, we find Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and as of 2017, the world’s richest man.
Contributing to this feature were: Yacine Kadri, Jérémie Amsallem, Thomas Bastin, Boris Beltran, Caroline Castets, Tiphanie Cliche, Florent Detroy, Lucas Jakubowicz, Vincent Paes & Mickaël Pariente.
Leaders League employed four categories to determine the ranking of our billionaires:
1 – Amount and growth of our billionaires’ personal fortunes in the last year
2 – Nature of their fortunes: family or business
3 – The individual’s level of responsibility within their company
4 – An analysis of the information on them in the public domain