Chicago area gets a greater share in Forbes’ billionaire ranking

Ken Griffin is still No. 1 in the local standings, while insurance investor Patrick Ryan moves to No. 2, and new names join the list.

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Ken Griffin

Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times,

The Chicago area has minted four new billionaires, increasing its presence in the ranks of the world’s richest people despite a volatile market that lowered the net worth of many peers, Forbes said Tuesday.

Publishing its 36th annual World’s Billionaires List, the business magazine said its 2022 data includes 25 people from Chicago or its suburbs, including four new to the exclusive club. In 2021, the Chicago region had 23 billionaires, in Forbes’ reckoning. The net gain accounts for two people who dropped from the list.

Retaining his No. 1 spot in the local standings, to no one’s surprise, is Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of the Citadel hedge fund, with a worth pegged at $27.2 billion, good for 53rd place on the list of the global rich. Forbes’ data, based on stock prices and exchange rates as of March 11, showed Griffin’s stash grew 70% in the last 12 months.

But the largest local gainer, 135%, was insurance mogul Patrick Ryan, now the second richest person in the Chicago area, according to Forbes. It said his net worth is now $8 billion, up $4.6 billion from his 2021 total. Last year, Ryan took his Ryan Specialty Group public in a successful stock offering.

Rounding out the top 5 area billionaires are real estate investor Sam Zell at $5.8 billion; Morningstar Chairman Joe Mansueto at $5.7 billion; and real estate and casino investor Neil Bluhm, at $5.5 billion. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s worth is estimated at $3.6 billion and he checks in as 10th on the list. Three more members of the Pritzker family also are ranked.

New on the list are private equity investor Byron Trott at $1.7 billion; Matt Hulsizer ($1.5 billion) and Jenny Just ($1.5 billion, co-founders of the options trading firm Peak6 Capital Management); and Leonid Radvinsky, majority owner of the OnlyFans social media site popular with those seeking sexual content. Forbes lists his residence as Chicago but he says on his website that he lives in Florida.

Globally, the Forbes ranking found 87 fewer billionaires compared with the 2021 roster, bringing the new count to 2,668. Collectively, they are worth $12.7 trillion, down from $13.1 trillion in the 2021 list. On top was Tesla CEO Elon Musk, at $219 billion, pushing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to 2nd after four years in a row as the world’s richest person.

“The tumultuous stock market contributed to sharp declines in the fortunes of many of the world’s richest,” said Kerry Dolan, assistant managing editor of wealth at Forbes. “Still, more than 1,000 billionaires got wealthier over the past year. The top 20 richest alone are worth a combined $2 trillion, up from $1.8 trillion in 2021.”

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