Sunday Times Rich List: Preston-born Michael Platt named as richest person in the North West

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A Preston hedge fund manager has been named as the North West’s richest person.

Michael Platt, co-founder and chief executive of BlueCrest Management, saw his personal fortune rise by £2bn the last year, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

The 53-year-old is now worth £10bn, ranking him joint 11th in the annual poll with Alisher Usmanov among the wealthiest people in the UK.

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Cheshire-based Hugh Grosvenor, 31, The 7th Duke of Westminster, has lost the No 1 spot on the Northwest Rich List after a fall in the asset value of his family’s vast property operation Grosvenor Group.

Michael Platt, who was born and raised in Preston, has been named at the North West's richest personMichael Platt, who was born and raised in Preston, has been named at the North West's richest person
Michael Platt, who was born and raised in Preston, has been named at the North West's richest person

Westminster’s family fortune is now £9.726 billion, down £328 million from last year.

Tom Morris, 68, the founder of flourishing Liverpool-based retailer Home Bargains is £766 million richer with a family fortune which now stands at £5.127 billion.

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The rich list, published in print this Sunday, reveals a record 177 billionaires in the UK this year, up six from 2021.

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The combined wealth of the UK billionaires is £653.122 billion, up £55.853 billion - 9.4 per cent, on the total wealth of the billionaires in last year’s Rich List.

For Mr Platt, who now resides in Switzerland, it is a far cry from his relatively humble beginnings in his home city of Preston as the son of a university lecturer.

He first began investing in stocks aged just 14 before studying maths and economics at the London School of Economics.

After university, he secured a job at JP Morgan, where he won several rapid promotions, before founding BlueCrest Management in 2000.

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The company is now regarded as one of the biggest private investment firms in the world, with a 50 per cent profit return.

In a rare interview, he revealed how he spotted talented traders for his firm, saying he is always looking for employees with “an edge”.

"I look for the type of guy in London who gets up at seven o’clock on Sunday morning when his kids are still in bed and logs on to a poker site so that he can pick off the US drunks coming home on Saturday night,” he said.

A notable art collector, he has been called the ‘richest hedge fund manager in London’, and once made a brief appearance in the US television show, Billions.