The richest individuals around the world are constantly in the headlines, partly out of fascination for just how much they are worth – amounts unimaginable to the average person, regardless that 80% of ‘the richest’ are actually self-made billionaires. However, during this period of stock markets’ volatility in early 2016, they are just as newsworthy for how much they can lose, or gain, in one day, which can markedly effect their ranking on the ‘richest list’.
Not so well-known are families with accumulated net worth which puts them close to the aforementioned richest individuals, perhaps unsurprisingly if there are three, four or five relatively ‘super-rich’ relatives who pool their energies, business interests and their net worth. Many are indeed consistently linked in a family business or conglomerate, as can be seen in this list which authoritative sources estimate comprise the richest in the world, share markets allowing! Very few are built on ‘new’ money, but mostly the result of steady growth over, in some cases, hundreds of years.
10. Cox family Net worth: $34.5 billion
James M. Cox was firstly a social reforming politician, being twice elected Governor of Ohio, but also built a considerable business empire in the media and communications industries beginning before the turn of the 20th century, so now well over100 years old. Now under the control of James’ daughter Anne Cox Chambers and his grandchildren James Cox Kennedy – current chair of Cox Enterprises – and Blair Parry-Okeden who are all heirs to a considerable fortune, the company is now expanding its interests into the automotive industry.
9. Bernard Arnault & family Net worth: $37.7 billion
World renowned names Moet Hennessy and Louis Vuitton (LVMH) are just two of the business interests of the Arnault family, which also has interests in retail, yachts and web companies as well as in Christian Dior, a prominent fashion brand. CEO and chairman is still Bernard, but Executive VP at LVMH is daughter Delphine, and CEO of Berluti, a subsidiary of LMVH, is his son Antoine. The company made initial inroads into business through real estate, but smart investing saw it reach its current prominent position in several industries.
8. Liliane Bettencourt & family Net worth: $42.7 billion
The French are certainly still one of the fore-runners in the world of cosmetics and perfumes, as proven by their leading lengevity in the industry. The world-dominating cosmetic company L’Oreal is now run by Liliane Bettencourt’s daughter Francoise and grandson Jean-Victor Meyers, but she is still the richest woman in the world and principal shareholder of the company her father Eugene founded in 1907. She only retired from active involvement in 2011, aged 89.
7. Cargill-MacMillan family Net worth: $45 billion
Cargil Inc. outranks Koch enterprises in being the largest private company in the USA, with and 88% of it still owned by family members, in fact currently boasting 14 billionaires. William Wallace Cargill founded the company based on grain storage in 1865, which was split among his four children when he died in 1909. The company’s interests now include trading commodities as well as food products. In-laws the MacMillans are billionaires, the total wealth of the expanded family being an estimate because of the privacy attendant to the conglomerate.
6. Carlos Slim Helú & family Net worth $77.1 billion
Son Carlos is now the chairman of Grupo Carso, and with three siblings is ready to take over completely the conglomerate built-up by the second richest person in the world. The ‘Warren Buffett of Mexico’, Carlos Slim Helú is so important to Mexico – accounting for 40% of the listings on the Mexican stock exchange – made from scratch largely from his development of telecoms, that there is a strong chance of the Mexican economy collapsing if the stock exchange took a real dive.
5. Mars family Net worth: $80 billion
Mars Bars and M & Ms were developed more than 80 years ago, and are still going strong. Franklin Mars obviously knew his candy, and the money to be made out of it. As with other rich families, the family and the business are still private. Franklin founded the business in 1911, and son Forrest Sr. joined the company in 1929; children, Forrest Jr., Jacqueline and John continue to own the whole of Mars Inc., which now also makes pet foods as well as pasta sauces, and which means that they are now worth almost $30 billion each.
4. Koch family Net worth: $89 billion
In the country with the world’s largest GDP, Koch Industries is now the second-largest privately-held company in the USA. Charles and David Koch had the nous to buy-out their two other brothers in the early 1980s, and now control the oil and refining company founded by their father Fred C. Koch in 1940. Subsidiary interests in finance, manufacturing, trading and real estate have ensured the continued growth of this multinational corporation, with the brothers net worth now approaching $50 billion each.
3. Walton family Net worth: $152 billion
Jim, Rob, and Alice are direct heirs of Sam and James Walton, who had the foresight to establish Walmart in the southern USA in 1962. Christy is the widow of his son John who died in a ‘plane crash in 2005, and with her children the six Waltons control 54% of the shares of the world’s largest retailer. The company’s revenue regularly hits $500 billion, through 11,500 stores in 28 countries, so the present owners sum value is usually over $160 billion – share market machinations permitting!
2. The House of Saud Net worth: $1.4 trillion
The al-Saud family have been in control of at least part of the Arabian peninsular since the early 1700s, and like the Rothschilds, their wealth is now distributed through so many family members that the total can only be estimated. Saudi Arabia is now run as an absolute monarchy, effectively established under the patronage of the British following the break-up of the Ottoman empire after World War One. Of course their main source of wealth is oil, the price of which has a very significant effect on the al-Saud family wealth, and the budget of the country! Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud has been king since early 2015.
1. Rothschild family $350 billion – $700 trillion
The name itself is fascinating, but more so because the family is now so widespread, with all their wealth effectively ‘private’, so the total of their net worth is always open to conjecture. However, since Mayer Amschel Rothschild established his banking company in Frankfurt, now Germany, in the 1700s, and distributed his five sons to the five centres of European finance, the family has had a finger in virtually every pie – business, industry, enterprise, exploration, war – over the last 250 years. Their influence has been such that descendents have been elevated to royal rank in countries such as Austria and the UK. The family fortune is therefore only an estimate, but even at the lower end it is still extremely impressive!