While the overall wealth of Switzerland’s 300 richest residents has plateaued over the past year, there has been some movement among the top ten, reports the magazine Bilanz.
According to the financial publication’s annual listing, 2018 saw the total wealth of the 300 richest Swiss hit a new record high of CHF675 billion ($677.7 billion).
However, it reported, though the figure is impressive – representing an average wealth of CHF2.25 billion – it marks a minor growth of 0.2% on last year, thus bringing to something of an end the continuous upward spike of the past decade.
In 2008, the total wealth of the top 300 stood at ‘just’ CHF459 billion.
Why the stagnation? The magazine explains the anomaly by a loss in value of gold (“with which some of the richest people like to enrich their portfolio”), as well as the falling value of certain raw materials, and declining values on European stock markets.
As for the list itself, the industrial and consumer concerns that top the pile may not be familiar to all readers (see table), but for those in the know, most of the usual suspects are represented.
The Kamprad family, who control the Ikea brand – and whose founder, notoriously thrifty Ingvar, died at the start of the year – come out emphatically on top once again with an estimated wealth of CHF50-51 billion, almost twice that of second-place pharma families Hoffmann and Oeri.
Notable losses were recorded by Swiss-Brazilian beer baron Jorge Lemann, who suffered a CHF7 billion stock market setback in 2018 mainly linked with his AB InBev holdings, but who dropped just one place to third.
Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, involved in a stormy conflux of takeovers and US sanctions this year, fell out of the top 10, as did the Blocher family, whose patriarch figure Christoph continues to offer a loud voice in Swiss conservative politics. The Blocher family retains an overall wealth of CHF10-11 billion.
Bilanz clarifies that its list provides an overview of all rich people in Switzerland, whether they are citizens or tax-paying foreign residents; there are 134 such billionaires overall in the country, it says. According to Forbes magazine, 36 of these are Swiss citizens.