Accountancy Rich List 2017
Philip Beresford 8 Sep 2017 09:49am

10 to 1

We can exclusively reveal the top ten
Caption: 10: Paul Coulson, Industry, £1.07bn

1 Denise Coates & family




Online gambling



Bet365, the Potteries-based online gambling operation, had a bumper 2015-16, with profits surging 12.4% to £459.6m and revenues up 5% to £1.55bn. The amount wagered grew 6% to a staggering £37bn and the number of active users was up 11%. Denise Coates, who founded the business from a prefabricated building in a car park 15 years ago, was almost certainly the recipient of the highest pay packet to a director – a cool £54m. If so, this sum is believed to be the highest salary paid to a woman in British corporate history. The eldest of four children, Denise spent weekends as a schoolgirl marking up bets at her father’s betting shops. Later armed with a first-class degree in econometrics from Sheffield University, she trained as an accountant within the family’s chain of Midlands betting shops. She asked her father Peter to let her run the chain and expanded it to almost 50 stores. But in 2000 she decided the future was online. She mortgaged the shops for a loan and bought the Bet365 domain name for $25,000 on Ebay. “I felt that as a chain of betting shops, we would only ever be a regional player, while with the online business, I felt we could become a leading global player,” she has told the FT. Potteries-based Bet365 is best known for its TV adverts starring Ray Winstone in half-time breaks of football matches. Her brother John is the other joint chief executive. Their father Peter is chairman of Stoke City, the Premier League football club. From mining stock, he went into bookmaking. Bet365 is worth at least £4.5bn and the Coates family, with Denise as the biggest shareholder with a 50.25% stake, owns 93.3% of the shares. Today the business is based in a £30m headquarters in Etruria, a Stoke suburb that was named by Josiah Wedgwood after the ancient Italian region that was home of the Etruscans. A £128m dividend was paid in 2015-16 and we now add £500m to the Coates family for other assets.



2 Alan Parker







The Parker family’s Oak Foundation has issued more than 3,600 grants to not-for-profit organisations around the globe. The charity awarded grants of $201.87m to 308 organisations in 39 different countries. A Rhodesian-born accountant, Alan Parker worked for Hong Kong-based Duty Free Shoppers where he became the third largest shareholder. Its 1997 takeover by the LVMH luxury goods operation netted Parker around $840m for his 20% stake. Parker, who is now based in Geneva, was given an honorary doctorate in 2006 by an American university in recognition of his generosity. With other assets/investments and after his charitable giving worth more than $100m a year, we agree with Bilan, the Swiss magazine, which put Parker’s fortune at £2.766bn in its 2016 Swiss rich list. Sunday Times, not Bilan, appears to be source for this



3 Peter Hargreaves







Peter Hargreaves donated £3.2m to the Leave campaign in the recent EU referendum. He was not phased at all by the £400m dent his fortune took in the immediate stock market turmoil that followed the Brexit victory. Hargreaves, who trained as an accountant and later did audit work for Whitbread and other blue chips, could take those losses on his chin as the co-founder of the Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown financial services operation. He started the business with fellow accountant Stephen Lansdown in 1981. They offered financial advice from the front room of Hargreaves’ Clifton cottage. “Peter would go out getting business on odd days, I’d be out on even days,” Lansdown later recalled. Initially, they targeted accountancy businesses, drawing on their backgrounds. But it was the use of Telegraph adverts, offering advice through the “maze” of 100 unit trusts - there are now over 1,500 - that helped the business grow. It floated on the stock market in 2007 valued at £700m. The shares came back after the Brexit-inspired turmoil but more recently reforms to the asset management industry proposed by the Financial Conduct Authority in June have hit Hargreaves Lansdown hard. It is now worth £6.18bn. Hargreaves, no longer on the board, retains a 32.2% stake worth just over £2bn. Past share sales and dividends – including more than £50m in the past year – should now take Hargreaves to £2.22bn.



4 John Reece







An ex-PwC accountant specialising in chemicals companies, John Reece hails from Sunderland. Cambridge-educated, Reece joined chemicals giant Ineos as finance director in 2000. Ineos, now Britain’s largest private company by sales, made £2.7bn profit on £18bn sales in 2015. Reece has a 20% stake in the controlling company Ineos Capital. That stake should now be worth £2.05bn.



5 Sunil Vaswani & family







Dubai-based Stallion Group operates in 18 countries across a range of industries, including car dealerships and auto-assembly to frozen food and low-cost housing. The family-owned conglomerate was founded more than 40 years ago in West Africa and most of the group’s revenues stem from the continent. Of Indian parentage, chairman Sunil Vaswani was born in Jaipur, spent his childhood in Nigeria and studied economics and accounting in London. He leads the group, with his brothers Maresh and Haresh also working for Stallion, which takes its name from Sunil’s favourite animal. All three have UK citizenship. Forbes has estimated Sunil’s wealth at £1.972bn.



6 Farhad Moshiri







Iranian-born Farhad Moshiri is pressing ahead with building a new 52,500-seater stadium for Everton. The billionaire bought a near 50% stake in the Premier League club in 2016 for £87.5m. He had previously invested in Arsenal alongside his friend and business partner Alisher Usmanov. Moshiri, who trained as an accountant and worked for Deloitte & Touche, is a British citizen who lives largely in Monaco now. He first met Usmanov in 1989 and has served as his financial adviser ever since. Moshiri has a 10% stake in a new parent company – USM Holdings – for certain of (for certain of?) Usmanov’s assets, including a holding in Metalloinvest, a Russian metals operation. He did well from the stock market flotation of Russian mobile phone company Megafon. He is now worth around £1.85bn.



7 Stephen Lansdown







Ex-Touche Ross accountant Stephen Lansdown saw his stake in Bristol-based financial services operation Hargreaves Lansdown fall sharply after the Brexit vote. It was in 1981 that Lansdown co-founded the business with Peter Hargreaves from the front bedroom of a cottage in the Clifton area of Bristol. It was the Telegraph ads, offering advice through the “maze” of unit trusts which grew the business to a £6.5bn operation today after its 2007 flotation. Lansdown, who stepped down as a non-executive director in 2012, is today focused on Bristol Sport, which brings together his football team, Bristol City, and other sports including the city’s rugby team. He is also an active investor in sustainable technology, with £15m in a portfolio that includes projects in Africa. Though Hargreaves Lansdown shares recovered after the Brexit crash, they have been hit again more recently in June by proposals to reform the asset management industry from the Financial Conduct Authority. Lansdown’s stake is now worth £989m in the £6.18bn operation. A £200m share sales in 2014 and previous sales total around £430m. In addition Lansdown has had over £135m in dividends since 2006. Part of the proceeds are have gone to fund the Robins. He should be worth £1.43bn.



8 Zameer Choudrey & family




Food £1,207m

An accountant, Zameer Choudrey has for 10 years been chief executive of Bestway Group, the West London based cash and carry and pharmacy giant which has its own substantial property operation. Profits hit a record £400.7m on £2.8bn sales in 2015-16. The business, which also has substantial banking and cement operations, showed assets of £1.89bn – up nearly £390m in a single year, while the separate Bestway Northern is still worth its £170m net assets. The two are together worth nearly £5.5bn. Choudrey is credited with turning Bestway from a UK-focused wholesale into a multinational operation with diverse interests. Choudrey, a nephew of Sir Anwar Pervez, Bestway’s founder, has a 21.39% stake along with other members of his close family. This holding is now worth £1.176bn – up £127m from last year. We still add £31m for other assets, taking Choudrey to £1.207bn.



9 Simon Nixon







Simon Nixon made the right choice when he dropped out of an accountancy course at Nottingham University. He went on to found the Chester-based comparison site in 1999. His father was in the RAF and his mother died at the age of 52 when he was 18, an event which Nixon says was a “catalyst” for him. He sold the last of his shares in the business in March and has netted over £551m in share sales since its 2007 flotation. The proceeds have been invested wisely. Nixon’s property assets, both commercial and residential, are worth more than £330m – up £20m. His bond and stock market investments – which include a £21m stake in Fundsmith Emerging Equities Trust, founded by Terry Smith – are now valued at £530m (up £40m), while personal assets and cash add up to £100m (up £150m). He drives a Porsche 918. Only 918 of these cars were made and Nixon says its value went up 35% in six months. Based in Jersey, he also has homes in Los Angeles, Mallorca and London. In all Nixon is now worth £1.176bn.



10 Paul Coulson







Paul Coulson owns 39% of Ardagh, the Luxembourg-based metal and glass packaging group, and is planning a flotation that will value the business at as much as €5bn. A Trinity College Dublin business graduate, Paul Coulson, known as “the Cooler”, qualified as an accountant with PwC. When he left he took a partnership in an accounting practice – Bates Coulson. About a year later he had an idea for a new business and left to set up the Yeoman finance company with the backing of a wealthy American then living in Cork, Eric Heckett. After a difficult time in the early 1990s, Yeoman recovered and in 1998 Coulson took over running Ardagh Glass, then a small glass bottle maker. The impending float aims to raise €250m for a 5% stake. That would value Coulson’s stake at €1.8bn or £1.59bn. He is renting one of the most expensive houses in the world, costing almost £1m a year. He has through acquisitions since 1998 turned a £30m turnover Irish glass bottle manufacturer into one of the world’s largest metal and glass packaging manufactures. His shareholding is partly held through his stake in Luxembourg-based Yeoman Capital, an investment company. He has made over £65m in the past eight years through various shrewd property and share transactions. He recently transferred ownership of his Dublin home to his wife. Coulson had previously put the property on the market for €27.5m back in 2008 – but it didn’t get a buyer. We conservatively value Coulson’s Ardagh stake at £1bn until we see the success of the float, adding a further £70m for the property deals and other earnings.