Most strikingly the Forbes list is much smaller (55 entries with a total of USD 251.3 billion) than the MM list (156 entries with a total of 482.4 billion)
The differences in more detail are as follows:
- Five entries with a total wealth of USD 12.1 billion (according to Forbes) are not recorded in the MM billionaire list:
- Three entries (Schoeller, von Opel, Thurn und Taxis) appear in MM but significantly below the USD 1 billion threshold
- Ludwig Merckle is recorded with with USD 5.3 billion in Forbes, while there is significant valuation uncertainty after the near collapse of the group in 2008/2009, the group has successfully deleveraged und is probably worth above USD 1 billion
- Finally Vladimir Iorich (according to Forbes Russian born, German nationality and Swiss residence) is neither recorded by MM nor by the Bilanz list of billionaires resident in Switzerland)
- The Herz family is recorded with five entries in Forbes (Michael, Wolfgang, Günter, Daniela, Ingeburg), while MM only has the two family entries (one for Günter and Daniela and another one for Ingeburg and her children)
- 109 entries with a total wealth of USD 248.6 billion (according to MM) are not recorded in the Forbes list:
- Two entries with a net worth of more than USD 10 billion (Dieter Schwarz with Lidl and Kaufland, Reimann family with Reckitt Benckiser and Coty)
- Six entries with a net worth between USD 5 and 10 billion (Oetker family with Oetker Group, Braun family with B. Braun Melsungen, Jacobs family with Barry Callebaut and Adecco, Knauf family with Knauf Gips, Peter Thiel with early investments in Paypal, Facebook, Zynga and Linkedin, Liebherr family with Liebherr Group)
- 32 entries with a net worth between USD 2 and 5 billion
- 69 entries with a net worth netween USD 1 and 2 billion
- Finally 47 names are recorded on both lists (Forbes and MM) with a total wealth of USD 233.8 billion according to MM and USD 239.2 billion according to Forbes. Despite total wealth for these entries matching nicely, for individual records the differences are more significant as shown in the graph below:
Obviously putting together billionaire lists is a difficult tasks especially when it comes to valuation of private companies. Nevertheless the overall differences are quite striking. When German billionaires are recorded at 156 instead of 55, the number of German billionaires exceeds those of China or Russia and its per capita number increases from 6.4 to 18.3 (exceeding the US level of 13.2) billionaires per 10 million population.
In a future post we will look the billionaires resident in Switzerland, where Bilanz has 131 entries (USDCHF exchange rate 0.95) compared to Forbes with only nine entries. Obviously one major source of differences for this list can be easily explained in terms of Forbes' nationality criteria versus Bilanz residency criteria.