Sunday Times Rich List 2023: Preston-born hedge fund manager Michael Platt second in North West behind Sir Jim Ratcliffe

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A Preston hedge fund manager has been knocked off top spot as the North West’s richest person.

Michael Platt now sits second behind would-be Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is now the wealthiest man in the region according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

The 53-year-old Prestonian, co-founder and chief executive of BlueCrest Management, has however still seen his personal wealth rise in the last year by a further £1.5bn to £11.5bn.

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Rich List 2023: Wealthiest people in the UK, according to Sunday Times
Michael Platt, who was born and raised in Preston, has been named at the North West's second richest personMichael Platt, who was born and raised in Preston, has been named at the North West's second richest person
Michael Platt, who was born and raised in Preston, has been named at the North West's second richest person

The founder of chemicals giant Ineos, Sir Jim, 70, is now estimated to be the biggest private energy operator in the North Sea, and ranks number two on the main Rich List.

Ratcliffe grew up in a council house in Failsworth, Oldham, and while he already owns two football teams — the French club Nice and the Swiss club Lausanne Sport — as well as the Ineos cycling squad and an America’s Cup crew, he wants to fulfil a childhood dream by buying United.

Third on the North West list is Cheshire-based Hugh Grosvenor who tops the Young Rich List for those under 35 with a fortune of £9.878bn, up £152m from last year, thanks to his family’s vast property operation Grosvenor Group.

He became the 7th Duke of Westminster and Britain’s youngest billionaire, after inheriting his title at the age of 25 when his father Gerald died in 2016. Now 32, he oversees the dynasty’s company portfolio, which has real estate in 43 cities across 10 countries, including 300 acres of Mayfair and Belgravia. Among the property is the 23,000 acre Abbeystead Estate in Lancashire.

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INEOS Group chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe is looking to expand his business empire with a takeover of Manchester UnitedINEOS Group chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe is looking to expand his business empire with a takeover of Manchester United
INEOS Group chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe is looking to expand his business empire with a takeover of Manchester United

Fourth is Home Bargains owner Tom Morris, whose fortune rose by £1bn to just over £6.1bn, with Blackburn’s Issa brothers, Mohsin and Issa, now owners of supermarket giant Asda and fast-food chain Leon having founded the Euro Garages chain, fifth with an increase of £302m having tipped their wealth just above the £5bn mark.

For Mr Platt, another bumper year is a far cry from 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.

The company is now regarded as one of the biggest private investment firms in the world, generating returns as high as 153 per cent in 2022. A notable art collector, he once made a brief appearance in the US television show, Billions.

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Hugh Grosvenor oversees his family’s property empire, including the Abbeystead Estate. Photo: Getty ImagesHugh Grosvenor oversees his family’s property empire, including the Abbeystead Estate. Photo: Getty Images
Hugh Grosvenor oversees his family’s property empire, including the Abbeystead Estate. Photo: Getty Images

According to the Sunday Times list, there are 171 billionaires in the UK this year, down six from 2022, the first fall for 14 years. The combined wealth of the UK billionaires is £683.856bn, up £30.734bn, or 4.5 per cent, on the total wealth of the billionaires in last year’s Rich List.