We
might be having the biggest commodities boom in history and still enjoying the
longest economic expansion ever but if there’s one thing the 2006 BRW Rich List
shows it’s that property and inheritance remains the best way to go to building a
fortune.

Sure,
Gina Rinehart hit the billionaire’s list, the first woman to do that: but it’s
all due to inheritance. Her father was Lang Hancock, the prospector who found
Hamersley, the iron ore heart of Rio Tinto, and other
deposits in the Pilbara area of WA.

And all of the top 10 billionaires have some sort of property involvement – it’s just some are more
involved than others. A look
at the 21 billionaires shows that 11 have property as a major part of their business.

Some
are self-made, like Frank Lowy, Harry Triguboff and Kerry Stokes, but the inheritors include James Packer, Gina Rinehart,
John B and Timothy Fairfax.

Mining the market looks like the new lurk. Investors Mutual’s Anton Tagliaferro is now
worth an estimated $220 million; Kerr Neilsen from rival funds manager, Platinum, over $440
million; Bruce Neil, the major shareholder in select Managed Funds is said to be
worth more than $300 million; Michael Maxwell of Babcock and Brown, $149
million and Barry Lambert of Count Financial, $198 million.

Top of
the financial pile is Michael Hintze of CQS
Management with $450 million. That’s
enough to make the chaps at Macquarie Bank turn very green with
envy.

Perhaps the best known of the new mining entrepreneurs, Twiggy
Forest of Fortescue, is worth $810 million (but much less now that the
market is correcting. That would apply to most people on the list with
some exceptions).

Chris
Corrigan, formerly of Patrick but now cycling in Italy, is worth
an estimated $147 million and makes the list at 194 out of 200. His chairman,
Rolling Stones fan Peter Scanlon, is closing on half a billion at $480 million.

Peter Fray

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