New British PM Rishi Sunak is richer than King Charles III. How wealthy is he and where did it come from?
Rishi Sunak is many firsts. He is Britain’s first prime minister of color, the first person to lead the U.K. who professes a faith other than Christianity, and the youngest prime minister to take power in modern history.
He is also the richest person to ever occupy the Prime Minister’s residence at No. 10 Downing Street.
Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, have a combined net worth of around £730 million ($826 million), according to the Sunday Times—making the couple the 222nd-wealthiest people in the U.K.
The major source of their wealth is Murty’s 0.9% stake in her father Narayana Murty’s IT company, Infosys. The stake is estimated to be worth around £690 million, and allowed the couple to collect £11.6 million in dividend income last year. This is the first year Sunak and Murty have made it onto the Sunday Times Rich List, as the publication had not been able to confirm Murty’s stake in Infosys until this year.
The Sunday Times says the source of their wealth comes from “technology and hedge fund,” implying the remaining £40 million may originate from Sunak’s time as a partner at hedge funds Children’s Investment Fund Management and Theleme Partners, or from his time as director of Catamaran Ventures, the investment firm also owned by his father-in-law, which he led from 2013 to 2015 before going into politics.
Sunak’s net worth makes him richer than the recently appointed King Charles III, who before his inheritance had a net worth around $440 million, according to an estimate provided by research institute Wealth-X, which is mostly tied up in real estate holdings and other assets such as jewelry and art.
High cost-of-living crisis
The irony of one of the U.K.’s richest people taking a top position of power has not been lost on Britons facing a cost-of-living crisis. Sunak is coming into power as the country suffers from the worst economic conditions seen in decades, with skyrocketing inflation, rising mortgage payments, and falling pensions—all made worse by an economic crisis spurred by decisions made by Sunak’s predecessor in his own party.
Almost half of U.K. adults find it difficult to afford their energy bills, rent, or mortgage payments, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Around 23 million Britons are barreling toward fuel poverty, in which people cannot afford to keep adequately warm given their current income, and 2 million are not able to afford to eat every day.
Sunak has not avoided questions about his personal wealth, and he confronted the issue directly when gunning for the prime minister position in August. When asked if he was too rich to run the country, Sunak retorted that while he is fortunate to be in his position, he wasn’t “born like this.”
“I don’t judge people by their bank accounts, I judge them by their character, and I think people can judge me by my actions over the past couple of years,” Sunak told BBC Radio.
But if people are able to ignore Sunak’s bank account, his past as a student of one of Britain’s most elite schools, Winchester College (which costs £46,000 to attend each year), his years as a Goldman Sachs analyst, his penchant for £3,500 suits and Prada loafers, and his extensive international property portfolio may be harder to pass over.
Sunak’s wealth put him in an unwelcome spotlight this year after revelations emerged that his wife had saved millions in taxes by claiming “non-domiciled” status on dividends from her shares in Infosys. The status cost approximately £30,000 to secure and allowed her to avoid paying an estimated £20 million in U.K. taxes.
After the media controversy, Murty stated that she would pay U.K. taxes on global income, saying in a statement she didn’t want the issue “to be a distraction for my husband.”
Rishi himself has also been personally accused of being out of touch. When running to be his party’s choice for prime minister in July, a clip from 2001 resurfaced of Sunak on the BBC series Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl chortling over the fact he has no working-class friends.
“I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper-class, I have friends who are working class…well, not working-class,” Sunak says in the clip.
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