A good year for most of the U.K.’s ultra-rich.


Ayear into the Covid-19 pandemic and the U.K. billionaire class has actually swelled, Forbes’ latest examination of global billionaire net worths has revealed.

As of early March 2021, there are 56 U.K. billionaires, up from 45 last year. Of these, three have become billionaires for the first time, including Matt Moulding of Hut Group fame and Fisker Inc. Chief Financial Officer Geeta Gupta-Fisker. The year has also marked the return of nine former U.K. billionaires, who have reclaimed their spot in the three comma club–among them publishing baron Richard Desmond, and David McMurtry of engineering firm Renishaw. They rejoin the Forbes list thanks in part to the strength of the pound-sterling against the U.S. dollar and a steady rise in public stocks. One U.K. billionaire died over the past 12 months: David Barclay, owner of The Daily Telegraph and Very Group.

In all, these 56 tycoons are worth an estimated $213.9 billion, up from $152.9 billion on last year’s list—meaning U.K. billionaires are $61 billion richer than a year ago. Excluding the new and returning billionaires, those who made both the 2020 and 2021 lists have gained more than $44 billion.

With 56 billionaires, the U.K. is not exactly a billionaire super-power, however. In total wealth terms, the U.K. trails countries like France (42 billionaires, worth $512 billion) and Germany (136 billionaires—the most in Europe—worth $625 billion).

And despite the gains by some British billionaires, it has been a difficult year for others. Two of the U.K.’s best known billionaires, Richard Branson and Philip Green, were hit hard by the pandemic. Branson was forced into a $1.6 billion (£1.2 billion) recapitalization of his business empire and the sale of $500 million in Virgin Galactic shares. And 2021 saw  the end of Green’s Arcadia Group, the prized parts of which–Topshop and Topman–have already been sold off to help fill the group’s massive pension deficit, which had swelled to more than $700 million (£500 million) before the asset sale.

Here are the 10 richest U.K. billionaires; net worths are as of March 5, 2021.

#1 | James Ratcliffe


NET WORTH: $17 billion (Up $6 billion)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Chemicals

James Ratcliffe, once again the U.K.’s richest person, is an estimated $6 billion richer than last year on the back of a rebound for the chemicals sector driving up the value of his Ineos.

Ratcliffe’s much-hyped move into the car market, with the Ineos Grenadier—the billionaire’s take on the beloved Land Rover Defender— is expected to go into production in late 2021.

#2 | Hinduja Brothers


NET WORTH: $14.9 billion (Up $2 billion)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Diversified

The brothers may have been surpassed by Ratcliffe for the top U.K. spot on the Forbes list this year, and they may be in dispute over ownership of a Geneva bank, but the four siblings are still $2 billion richer than they were last year, thanks to a diversified portfolio that includes trucks, lubricants, banking and cable television.

#3 |  Michael Platt


NET WORTH: $13 billion (Up $5 billion)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Hedge funds

A former JP Morgan staffer, Platt has added an estimated $5 billion to his net worth over the year, thanks to the stellar, 95% returns of his BlueCrest fund. The investor, who handed back clients’ money in 2015, has turned BlueCrest into a successful family office, which now employs over 500 and reported gains of 50% in 2016, 2017 and 2019, and 25% in 2018.

#4 | James Dyson


NET WORTH: $9.7 billion (Up $3.8 billion)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Electronics

The Brexiteer billionaire, who announced he was moving his business to Singapore in late 2019, enjoyed a good year: Dyson revenue rose more than 20% to $7.5 billion (£5.4 billion), helping push his net worth up by $3.8 billion on this year’s list. But while Dyson’s move into new product categories like hair straighteners, hair dryers and air purifiers has been successful, one black spot came when the U.K. government rejected Dyson’s efforts to design and produce a hospital ventilator for use on NHS wards battling the first wave of Covid-19 admissions.

#5 | Ian & Richard Livingstone


NET WORTH: $9.3 billion (Up $2.9 billion)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Real Estate

The U.K. real estate billionaires carefully navigated the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, actually increasing their estimated net worth. The British brothers have one eye on the U.S.: in January they moved to acquire five Omni hotels. Their flagship real estate firm, London & Regional, now owns more than 45 Holiday Inn Express hotels in Europe.

#6 |  Anthony Bamford & family


NET WORTH: $7.9 billion (Up $2.7B)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Construction equipment

The owner of construction equipment maker JCB is $2.7 billion richer this year due to the solid performance of construction and agriculture equipment makers during the lockdown. The famous yellow digger brand celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2020, with revenue now over $4 billion a year.

#7 | David Reuben


NET WORTH:  $7.7 billion (Up $900 million)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Real Estate

The Reuben brothers had a busy year adding to their real estate fortune. They spent big money on Venice’s Baglioni Hotel Luna and Armani’s flagship store in London. One disappointment came with the failure of a Reuben-backed bid, on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, to buy the Newcastle United football club. Although a spokesperson claims the transaction is simply “on hold,” Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers released a statement in late July last year withdrawing from the process.

#8 | Simon Reuben


NET WORTH: $7.7 billion (Up $900 million)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Real Estate

#9 | Denise Coates


NET WORTH: $6.5 billion (Up $2 billion)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Online gambling

The Bet365 co-CEO has turned the domain name she bought in 2000 into one of the world’s largest online gambling companies. In late March, after Forbes locked in net worths for the 2021 World’s Billionaires list, reports surfaced that Coates earned over $700 million last year, with gambling “not hurt” by the coronavirus according to an industry analyst.

#10 | Christopher Hohn


NET WORTH: $5.9 billion ($900 million)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Hedge funds

The activist investor has led the Children’s Investment Fund since 2003, delivering a 14% return in 2020, according to reports . In 2020, Hohn used his growing influence to pressure companies to better disclose their carbon dioxide emissions as a means to curb climate change.