Top 10 richest Essex folk (2019)

top 10 richest people in essex 2019

At Goldman Read we know Essex and the surrounding areas like the palm of our hands. Being based a mortgage broker in Essex, our specialist mortgage advice has been born from  over 10 years of established business and practice.

Who are the richest in Essex?

We have seen Essex grow into a thriving area marvellous for professionals and families who are thinking of settling into the area. In this blog, we’ll uncover the 10 richest of Essex, hoping to inspire your growth thanks to property investment and other industries.

1) Lord Alan Sugar


2018: £1,300m

2017: £1,200m (2nd)

Lord Alan Sugar returns to the top of the top 10 rankings thanks to the fortune he is still making from property, although he is better known for battering would¬be tycoons with withering put¬downs in The Apprentice.

As well as completing his Crosspoint development in London, he last year sold a Florida residential site for £6.8m and another in Spain for £8.5m. He also bought a building on London’s New Bond Street for £48m. The savvy, Chigwell¬based tycoon is expected to make another good return on these developments, if his successful £65m sale of London Haymarket to Qatari investors after he bought it for £31.5m just two years before is anything to go by.

He had earlier made £50m from turning around a Mayfair tower block in five years. The son of a Hackney tailor, Lord Sugar’s route to wealth came with the Amstrad consumer electronics operation he founded in his early 20s. He should have made around £36m personally from the £125m sale of Amstrad in 2007 and after chairing Premiership football club Tottenham Hotspur from 1991 to 2001, he picked up at least £25m for his stake.

Such slights will be water of a duck’s back for Lord Sugar. His main property company Amshold showed £567.9m of assets in 2016¬17 (up £49m). We value his businesses at £1.2bn and add at least £200m of cash and other personal property assets. He is now worth at least £1,300m.

2) Jon Hunt

Estate Agency and Property

2018: £1,250m

2017: £1,250m (1st)

Colchester-born Jon Hunt last year won a 10-year battle to build a basement extension under his Kensington home. The French embassy objected to the plans, even claiming that the excavation represented a breach of the 1961 Vienna Convention by disturbing the peace of their diplomatic mission.

The three-story basement will accommodate a tennis court, swimming pool and space for some of Hunt’s impressive car collection. It may also enhance the value of the property, perhaps to as much as £100m. Hunt though does know a thing or two about property as the former owner of the Foxtons estate agency group.

From an Army family he was awarded a sports scholarship to Millfield boarding school. He left after O Levels to join the Army, passing basic training for the Royal Artillery, where his father had been a colonel. After leaving the Army, and following a short spell washing cars in Ottawa in Canada, Hunt returned to the UK in 1972 and spent the next eight years working as an estate agent in Surrey.

Hunt’s property career began at age 19 when he borrowed a £100 deposit to buy a one-bedroom conversion flat in Walton Road, Woking for £4,500. In 1981 Hunt, then aged 28, co-founded Foxtons. The company took its name from a village near Hunt’s Suffolk home.

The firm’s office in London’s Notting Hill Gate neighbourhood distinguished itself from competing estate agents by opening a then unusual 74 hours a week, including weekend and evening hours, rather than the conventional 40 hours worked by rival estate agents. Foxtons expanded to other London districts, each new branch offering a 0% commission in its first three months of operation to attract customer.

Hunt sold up at the height of the boom for £375m in early 2007. After the sale of Foxtons, Hunt made substantial commercial property investments in Central London at the bottom of the market in 2008. As well as commercial property, Hunt has been active in residential development too in Central London.

He turned down an unsolicited offer for his seven-storey townhouse in Kensington Palace Gardens in 2008, reputedly for £200m. Hunt is now dipping his toe into new waters, a luxury serviced–office business called Dryland.

His other assets include a car collection and the Suffolk estate Heveningham Hall, which he is turning into a luxury holiday resort and restoring the grounds to their original Capability Brown-design splendour. In 2010 he launched Bacchus Partners, hoping to snap up derelict properties across the southeast and east of England, then turn them into housing.

With a commercial property portfolio worth at least £600m and the swiftly appreciating classic car collection, Hunt is worth £1.25bn. In 2012 he sold a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT for around £20m.

3) David Sullivan


2018: £1,100m

2017: £1,100m (3rd)

David Sullivan will be praying that West Ham Utd FC can recover from a poor start to the 2018¬19 season. After eight games, the Hammers are 15th in the Premiership with just seven points. Chigwell¬based Sullivan owns a 51% stake in the club, which now play at the former 2012 London Olympic Stadium.

Sullivan made most of his early money from porn, sex shops and erotic films. At one point during the 1970s he was said to be responsible for half of the UK’s adult magazine titles. In more recent years, the Cardiff¬born magnate has shown himself to be an artful property investor. We now see nearly £508m of net assets in his three major property companies.

Football clubs are notoriously difficult to value, but we still value Sullivan’s stake at around £325m, as the owners turned down an offer of £650m in 2016. Asset sales such as the £50m from Sports Newspapers in 2007, a £100m pension pot and £160m of recent property deals comfortably elevate Sullivan to billionaire status.

He once showed off his £7.5m, 14¬bedroomed home to Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford for their Channel 5 programme How The Other Half Live. Sullivan’s son Dave Junior last year said that his father had built a fortune of £1.1bn – adding that he wanted to build a £5bn fortune to pass on to his children.

4) Mark Dixon


2018: £885m

2017: £1,020m (4th)

Mark Dixon, the son of a Ford car mechanic, has lost his billionaire label over the last year after the sharp fall in the value of his IWG serviced office operation. Dixon went to Rainsford Comprehensive School, leaving at 16.

He began his entrepreneurial career selling peat from a wheelbarrow. He soon set up a sandwich business, Dial¬A¬Snack, in 1976. When this failed he travelled the world, working his passage around Europe, Asia and Australia with odd jobs ranging from iron mining to bar work. Dixon later returned to his native Essex and invested £600 in a burger van on London’s North Circular Road.

With the proceeds, along with his savings, he bought other vans but struggled to get enough bread rolls for the business – so he set up his own bread company supplying fast¬food vendors. He sold this in 1988 for £800,000. Having relocated to Brussels he noticed how business people held meetings in cafes. So in 1989, he was inspired to set up Regus, providing offices with social and meeting spaces.

The concept worked and he floated the company in 2000. Renamed as IWG, the business is now valued at £2.17bn, after a recent fall in its share price. Dixon sold shares worth nearly £102m in September 2016 and a further £94m worth in June last year (2017). Previous share sales add around £100m.

He retains a £551m stake. He has received at least £90m of dividends since 2008 and has other assets, including the Chateau de Berne vineyard in Provence and a five¬star, 25¬room hotel. In all he should be worth around £885m.

5) Sir Charles Dunstone


2018: £876m

2017: £860m (5th)

Sir Charles Dunstone is not having the best of times. The Saffron Walden¬born entrepreneur is under pressure from investors in the TalkTalk broadband operator that he chairs. There is even talk that he could be ousted according to press reports. Dunstone is of course best known for co¬founding the Carphone Warehouse operation with his former Uppingham public schoolboy friend David Ross.

The pair set up the business from a Marylebone flat in 1989 with £6,000 savings. Over the following 29 years few people can have been more instrumental in making mobile phones and tablet computers ubiquitous parts of modern life.

A keen sailor, Dunstone’s stake in Dixons Carphone, created by a merger with Dixons Retail, is now worth £209m. His stake in TalkTalk, which was spun off from Carphone and later floated on the stock market in 2010, is now worth £407m. TalkTalk has struggled since a high profile cyber¬attack three years ago. With a reputation as a fierce party thrower at his Holland Park pad, perhaps it’s no surprise that Dunstone’s entrepreneurial appetites have also turned to food.

He now has more than 70 Five Guys hamburger restaurants and he’s begun rolling out a second fast food chain known as MOD — Made on Demand. This chain allows diners to design their own pizzas, picking extra toppings for no further charge. Dunstone also owns 10% of Boxpark, the fast food market in Croydon. He has also diversified into property, including the online estate agent HouseSimple. In all with past dividends, Dunstone should now be worth £876m after tax.

6) Vijay & Bhikhu Patel


2018: £800m

2017: £675m (6th)

The new £42m Vijay Patel Building at Leicester’s De Montfort University is winning architectural prizes. It is also the result of the single biggest donation in the university’s history by Vijay Patel, a graduate of the university’s School of Pharmacy. That he could afford such a donation is due to the entrepreneurial talent of Vijay Patel and his brother Bikhu.

They arrived in Britain in the 1960s with just £5, a handful of O Levels and a hunger to succeed. In the early days Vijay saved up money to go to pharmacy college by working in a chip shop in Wembley and in 1975 he purchased his first pharmacy in Essex. Bhikhu trained as an architect and came into the business in 1984, a few years after Vijay established Basildon¬based Waymade to distribute and market pharmaceutical products and prescription medicines.

In 2002 they spun out Amdipharm, which picked up treatments that were out of patent and held no special value for their multinational drug firm owners. 10 years later they sold the business for £367m, retaining a £90m shareholding. Another Patel company, Atnahs Pharma set up in 2013, saw its profit rise strongly to £24.1m on £107m sales in 2017¬18.

This operation’s assets grew to nearly £34m in a year. The brothers also made a substantial sum from the 2015 sale of AMCO, a niche pharma company, for £2.3bn. We raise the Patels to £800m this year.

7) Sir Jack Petchey


2018: £550m

2017: £550m (7th)

The Jack Petchey Foundation has awarded grants totalling £118m since it started in 1999. Its funds help programmes and projects for young people aged 11 to 25, mainly in London and the South East. It has even spent £1m on a training ship for the Sea Cadets, the TS Jack Petchey, which has been in service since 2010.

That 93¬year old Sir Jack Petchey can afford this is due in large part to his uncanny business acumen. A champion of hard work and self belief, Petchey was prosecuted at the age of 12 for working under age. But not everyone saw Sir Jack’s promise.

He was turned down for officer training while serving in the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm during World War II. After the war, while working as a clerk at the Solicitor’s Law Stationery Society, he was rejected for management training and told he would never make a businessman.

Petchey first earned money running errands and then began working after the war as a taxi driver. Using his £39 Army gratuity, he built a fleet of taxis. He later expanded into used cars and property. In 2006 and 2007, Essex¬based Petchey sold around £225m of stakes in six companies.

Further sales in 2013 netted Petchey more than £50m. Today his Petchey Holdings has a commercial property portfolio worth over £500m. Knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to young people in East London and Essex, Petchey followed that by marrying the royal sculptress, Frances Segelman in February 2017.

He still works and insists, ‘retirement is not on the cards’. He plans to leave all his fortune to the Foundation.

8) Mark Burnett & Roma Downey


2018: £390m

2017: £390m (9th)

Mark Burnett, the Essex¬born reality TV supremo of Hollywood, is reckoned to be one of Donald Trump’s best friends. Indeed he devised the hit TV show The Apprentice which propelled Trump to stardom and ultimately perhaps the White House. Yet it has not been all plain sailing for Burnett, who is coming under increasing pressure to reveal whether there are tapes of Trump preparing for the show using racially derogatory language.

Burnett showed up in Hollywood more than 30 years ago with just $200 to his name. Educated at the Warren School in Romford, Burnett fought in the 1982 Falklands conflict. Over the years the former paratrooper dreamt up reality TV hits including Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice.

He and his Irish actress wife Roma Downey are the driving force behind The Bible and other faith¬based programmes. Downey also now has her own star on Hollywood Boulevard. Hollywood studio MGM spent $343m in September 2015 to take a 55% stake in their TV production company and a few months later the pair exchanged their remaining stake for 1.3m MGM shares.

That stake should now be worth around £94m. In December 2015 Burnett signed a five¬year contract to become president of MGM Television while Downey became chief content officer of the faith and family division. She and her husband last year oversaw the $100m production of Ben¬Hur, a modern retelling of the religious epic. Despite the lower value of their MGM stake, we leave the Malibu¬based couple at £390m this year.

The couple last year bid $1.5m for a work by the Swiss artist Urs Fischer at Sean Penn’s fundraising event for the hurricane¬ravaged island of Haiti.

9) The Ives Family


2018: £388m

2017: £368m (10th)

East Ender and former boxer Bill Ives died last August. He won the ABA heavyweight title in 1966, 1967 and 1968. ‘I could have turned professional,’ Ives said shortly before he died, ‘but I was short sighted and there weren’t the treatments available back then to enable me to continue boxing. Plus, I wasn’t actually very good! It was a blessing in disguise as it turned out.’

He founded Rainham Steel in 1973 as a steel supplier. The Essex-based business diversified and began to focus on builders and builders’ merchants in the 1980s. Profits almost doubled to £4.5m on sales of £108.5m sales in 2016-17, with the business’s assets ticking up to almost £45.2m.

However, adding Ives’ salary to the bottom line pushes the profit to more than £10m. We raise the value of the business to £170m this year, but large investments and property assets take the Ives family to £388m.

A substantial donor to the Tory party over the years, Ives also invested in Boxnation – a TV channel dedicated to the sport where he first made his name.

10) David & Victoria Beckham

Fashion & Football

2018: £340m

2017: £300m (12th)

The Beckhams are beefing up their commercial interests while continuing to earn well from the skills which initially earned them money. While Victoria is set to reprise her role as ‘Posh’ in some form of Spice Girls reunion, her husband is starting a new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami.

But the couple’s biggest break over the past year is a £30m private equity investment in Victoria’s struggling fashion line. The money poured in by David Belhassen, the man who financed the growth of the patisserie chain Paul, valued the fashion label at £100m. The pair, who divide their time between the United States and UK, are both launching their own cosmetic ranges.

David meanwhile has a new grooming brand with L’Oreal called House 99, while his wife is developing a fragrance and skincare range with Estee Lauder. Footwork Productions, David’s main company, paid a dividend of £12.7m in 2016.

The separate Beckham Brand Holdings, a third of which is owned by impresario Simon Fuller, showed a dividend of £10.2m in the same year.

Financial statements for Victoria’s eponymous fashion label do not make pretty reading, showing a loss of £8.5m in 2016, debts of £13.1m and flat sales. But the private equity investment, which aims to pay for a digital operation and more stores, justifies a stronger valuation for the business.

We raise the golden couple to £340m – a figure which includes £15m, less tax and spending, for the dividends.

Picture of Clive Read
Clive Read

Clive Read is an appointed representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network. PRIMIS Mortgage Network is a trading style of Personal Touch Financial Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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