The super rich just got richer in 2016

An extra $237 billion for the world's wealthiest people...

The super rich just got richer in 2016

Picture by Andrew Harnik AP/Press Association Images

Despite a turbulent year in politics as a wave of populism swept the globe, it was business as usual for the world's moneyed elite as their bank balances only got bigger.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, those at the top of the pile are $237 billion (€228bn) better off than they were at the start of 2016.

That's an increase of 5.7% to $4.4tn by the close of business on December 27th.

To get there, fortunes did go through a huge amount of volatility over the past 12 months, moving through $4.8bn (€4.6bn) of daily net worth gains and losses.

“In general, clients rode through the volatility,” said Simon Smiles, chief investment officer for ultra-high-net-worth clients at UBS Wealth Management. “2016 ended up being a spectacular year for risk assets. Pretty remarkable given the start of the year.”

Warren Buffett, the world's second richest person behind Bill Gates, made the biggest gains of the billionaires, with Donald Trump's surprise victory in the US presidential election in November helping him add $11.8bn. His wealth was up 19%, to $74.1bn.

Buffett has pledged to give most of his fortune away to charity.

“2016’s been event-driven with global news driving prices rather than fundamentals,” said Michael Cole, president of Ascent Private Capital Management, which has about $10 billion of assets under administration. “The belief that Trump is going to come in and deregulate big parts of the economy is driving the markets right now.”

Despite US billionaires generally favouring Hillary Clinton for the presidency, Trump's win added $77bn to their fortunes in the post-election rally.