London - Mark Zuckerberg has made the biggest gains on a ranking of the world's mega-rich, with the Facebook founder's fortune swelling by $11.2bn (£8bn) to $44.6bn.
However, Carlos Slim Helu was not so fortunate. The Mexican telecoms mogul is the biggest loser on Forbes magazine's list of “The World's Billionaires”, with his fortune dropping from $77.bn in 2015 to $50bn as at 12 February 2016. South American economies have struggled recently on the back of the commodity crisis.
The list, topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who has a net worth of $75bn, features 1 810 billionaires. Added together, their total net worth is $6.48trn, down from $7.05trn. Luisa Kroll, assistant managing editor at Forbes said: “The 2016 ranks show a dynamic reshuffling of wealth around the globe. For the first time since 2009, we found fewer billionaires.”
Others in the top 10 include Amazon's chief executive Jeff Bezos and Amancio Ortega, who founded fashion chain Zara and is behind a London property empire worth £1.6bn. Around two-thirds of those on the list are self-made billionaires, while 228 inherited their wealth. Just 190 are women, down from 197 in 2015.
Members come from 67 countries, and the US leads the way with 540 billionaires, followed by China with 251. Those from the UK to make the cut include property tycoons the Reuben brothers and Joe Lewis, the majority owner of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh is a newcomer on the list.
Separately, fresh research from New World Wealth for the Knight Frank Wealth Report reveals that the number of ultra high net worth individuals - those with $30m or more in net assets - declined 3 percent in 2015.
While the number of people in this category is set to rise 41 percent to 263 500 by 2025, growth in wealth is set to be significantly slower than in the past decade. The downward shift last year was caused by factors such as the fall in oil prices, currency swings and share volatility. Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, added: “Last year was a poor one... This was mainly due to a fall in equity markets.”
The big hitters...
1. Bill Gates (Microsoft) ($75bn)
2. Amancio Ortega (Zara) ($67bn)
3. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) ($60.8bn)
4. Carlos Slim Helu (Telecoms) ($50bn)
5. Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com) ($45.2bn)
6. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) ($44.6bn)
7. Larry Ellison (Oracle) ($43.6bn)
8. Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg LP) ($40bn)
9. Charles Koch (Diversified) ($39.6bn)
9. David Koch (Diversified) ($39.6bn)