Seriously rich in Switzerland get seriously richer

Television personality Michelle Hunziker arrives for her wedding to the very wealthy heir to an Italian fashion house Keystone

This content was published on November 28, 2014 - 05:00 and agencies

The 300 richest Swiss residents have seen their combined fortune increase by CHF25 billion ($26 billion) to a record CHF589 billion, thanks largely to a buoyant stock market. 

Swiss business magazine Bilanz, which published the annual list on Friday, pointed out that this is not far below Switzerland’s GDP (CHF625 billion in 2013). 

Bilanz compiled its first “rich list” in 1989 with only 100 names, whose total fortune came to CHF66 billion – less than the combined wealth of this year’s top two entries: the Kamprad family, who own Swedish furniture store IKEA, (CHF42.5 billion); and the Hoffmann and Oeri families, who own Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche (CHF26.5 billion). 

Almost half of those on the list are not Swiss – Germans in particular are attracted by Switzerland’s meteorological and fiscal climate. Indeed, they will be hoping that Swiss voters on Sunday decide against abolishing lump sum taxation, the made-to-measure tax regime designed to attract wealthy foreigners to Switzerland. 

This year saw the arrival of a few well-off celebrities, such as Michelle Hunziker, a Swiss-Italian television presenter whose wallet swelled by CHF200-250 million when she married the heir of an Italian fashion label in October. 

German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel made the cut for the first time, as did Dieter Meier, half of Swiss pop band Yello as well as being an artist, author, filmmaker, entrepreneur and winemaker. 

Biggest loser of the year is once again linked to a Russian company. In 2013 it was Viktor Vekselberg, this year Geneva resident Gennady Timchenko lost CHF2 billion as a result of the crisis in Ukraine.

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