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Rich List absentee

11 Scots billionaires, but no place for Mone’s partner

Missing: Barrowman, with Lady Mone, does not appear among Scotland’s richest

A record number of billionaires appear in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, with 11 claiming a connection to Scotland – but with one notable absentee.

The list includes Egypt-born Harrod’s owner Mohammed Al Fayed and family but does not include Lady Michelle Mone’s Glasgow-born partner Doug Barrowman who is regularly reported to be a billionaire.

Al Fayed appears courtesy of his acquisition and restoration of the Balnagown Estate in Ross-shire.

Barrowman, who was born and raised in Glasgow and graduated from Glasgow University, moved to the Isle of Man in 2008 where he founded The Knox Group of Companies. It is involved in private equity, property and wealth management.

Barrowman owns a £50 million super yacht and recently launched a cryptocurrency business with fellow Glaswegian Lady Mone. He has six homes, 15 luxury cars and a private jet, but does not appear in the list of Sunday Times top richest Scots.

Making an entry into the Scottish billionaires list this year is the Edinburgh-born investor Jim Mellon who is also resident on the Isle of Man, together with homes in San Francisco and Ibiza. At the time he gave  an interview to Daily Business last year his wealth was put at £850m.

Jim Mellon

Jim Mellon: invested in Russia

He made “spectacular” amounts of money in Russia’s transition to a market economy in the 1990s and founded the fund management firm Charlemagne Capital. He is chairman of Burnbrae.

The Rich List is headed by Jim Ratcliffe, who founded chemical firm Ineos, with an estimated worth of £21.05bn. He was listed as 18th last year.

Mr Ratcliffe’s firm, which operates at the Grangemouth chemicals plant,  is currently lockd in a legal battle with the Scottish government over its moratorium on fracking.

His wealth leapt by £15bn in the past year – partly because of a revaluation of his assets. He is the first UK-born person to top the rich list since the Duke of Westminster in 2003.

The Scottish list is headed by the Gordon family – owners of the William Grant & Sons spirits company  – which enjoyed a £200m boost to their fortune in the past year. The family has appeared in every one of the lists since it began in 1989, when their fortune was given as £50m.

The business, whose brands include Glenfiddich and Hendrick’s gin, is chaired by Jersey-based Glenn Gordon, the founder’s great-great-grandson. Profits last year surged to £260.2m, helping the business to a valuation of £2.4bn.

Glenfiddich whisky

Whisky owners the Gordon family remain in top spot

This year’s billionaires with connections to Scotland have a combined wealth of £16.207bn. 

Ranked second in Scotland this year, John Shaw and wife Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw have seen the biggest growth in personal wealth in the past year, with £606m of gains off the back of a sharp rise in the value of Biocon, the Bangalore-based pharmaceuticals business in which Mazumdar-Shaw and her Glaswegian husband have a stake valued at £1.69bn, up £606m on last year.

Third on the list is Sir Ian Wood, one of the leading players in Aberdeen’s oil boom years, who gave £10.7m in the past year to NHS Grampian to build a car park at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, which is free to patients and visitors. It is one of the largest acts of philanthropy in the UK in the past year. 

Sir Ian, 75, now devotes much of his time to charity through his Wood Foundation, set up in 2007.  He stepped away from the day-to-day running of his oil services business, Wood Group, in 2012.

Philip Day, ranked seventh in the Scottish Rich List, has enjoyed a stellar year. His wealth is up another £50m to stand at £1.2bn.

Where others are struggling on the high street, Mr Day is showing something of a midas touch. His Dumfries and Galloway-based Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group returned record profits of £83.8m on record sales of £592m in 2016-17. Day took a dividend of £30.5m in 2016.

He bought the Edinburgh Woollen Mill tweed and knitwear company for £55m in 2001, clearing all loans on the business four years later. It is now worth £1.15bn. He now owns Austin Reed, Jaegar, Country Casuals, Viyella, Jane Norman and Peacocks.

Robert Watts, compiler of the list, said: “Our list of Scotland’s wealthiest people epitomises the seismic change we’ve seen over 30 editions of The Sunday Times Rich List.

“This is now largely a group of self-made individuals, with people like Sir Ian Wood and Philip Day growing billion pound businesses through their vision and tireless endeavours. The days when the Rich List was dominated by aristocrats and inherited wealth are over.”

The Rich List charts the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK. It is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, to which the paper has no access.

Sports richest

Despite not winning any major golf tournaments last year, golfer Rory McIlroy increased his fortune by £28m to £110m and became Britain’s richest sports star.

The 29-year-old Northern Irish golfer overtook Sir Andy Murray and Real Madrid’s Welsh star Gareth Bale after signing a number of lucrative sponsorship deals including a $100m (£74m) 10-year contract to wear Nike clothing and a $100m agreement to use TaylorMade’s clubs, bags and balls for a decade.

Of the top 20 highest earning sportspeople, 15 are footballers. There are no women on the list.

Murray takes second place in the sports list with an £83m fortune, up £6m on last year.

Bale is third place with £74m (up £20m), and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is fourth with £48m. Boxer Anthony Joshua is the fifth richest with a £35m fortune, but is forecast to rise up the rankings next year.


The richest in Scotland

Scotland  Rank 2018



2018 wealth

Wealth increase/ decrease


Glenn Gordon and family



Up £202m


John Shaw and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw




Up £606m


Sir Ian Wood and family

Oil services and fishing


Up £112m


Mohammed Al Fayed and family



No change


Mahdi al-Tajir

Metals, oil and water


No change


The Thomson family



Up £67m


Philip Day



Up £50m


The Clark family

Car sales


Up £75m


Jim McColl



No change


Jim Mellon

Property and finance


Up £80m


Trond Mohn and Marit Mohn Westlake



Down £620m




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