Britain’s richest among world’s enterprise elite

Tim Wallace
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BRITAIN’S wealthiest people are more likely to be entrepreneurs and less likely to have inherited their money than their European – and even their American – counterparts, according to a major new report out today.

Smashing perceptions that the UK is bad at setting up firms, the report found success at enterprise is the most common way to get rich in Britain. Some 45 per cent of those with over £1m gained much of their wealth through business profits or sales, according to Barclays Wealth.

That is well ahead of business wealth in the US or Europe, and is more than three times the level of Britons who have become wealthy by inheriting their fortune.

However, even the UK is outshone by the developing world, with fast growing regions like Asia and South America generating higher proportions of wealthy entrepreneurs.

Just 14 per cent of rich Britons gained much of their wealth through inheritance – compared with 20 per cent of Americans and 21 per cent of Europeans.

The rise of the rich entrepreneur and decline of old money is backed up by attitudes among the rich shifting in favour of self-made wealth.

“Those who have made their money through business in more developed markets, such as the UK, would prefer the next generation to carve out their own path, rather than disrupt the entrepreneurial cycle and discourage the entrepreneurial spirit by simply having wealth handed down to them,” said Barclays’ Catherine Grum.