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Private Wealth: Banking On Climate Change In Africa

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Patrick Odier of Swiss wealth management firm Lombard Odier on why Africa offers immeasurable possibilities for investors, particularly those not risk-averse.


Climate change events such as floods, drought and cyclones have had a cataclysmic effect on the lives of Africans and their economies, with many having to rebuild with little to no resources, placing more strain on economies that are already over-burdened.

But are there ways to forecast these events so people are better able to weather the storm? Wealth management firm Lombard Odier thinks it has what it takes to minimize risk on the continent, and they have the years of experience to back it up.

“We are a 223-year-old company. In the financial industry, it means we have probably learned how to weather turbulences and financial market crises – we’ve survived 40 already,” Patrick Odier, chair of the board of directors at Lombard Odier, says.

“We have made South Africa central to our strategy. I think South Africa has a long history with entrepreneurship. This idea of organizing wealth, planning and optimizing the responsibilities between the members of the families – all that belongs to it.”

With that said, the bank still holds firm to its roots of running a lean organization where the idea is not to grow in quantity, but rather in quality.

“We cannot be everywhere. We don’t want to be, we’re not a giant. We are private. It makes it a bit different from other organizations where the concerns are more operational… we are purely a service-oriented company,” Odier says.

With a client-based outlook where the bank focuses on investment advisory, execution and fiduciary services, each client is handled based on their unique circumstances, but what does this mean for Africa?

“We are trying to look at the African continent with a very open eye, to look at how we can add value to those potential clients or families who may want to organize their estates and perhaps, diversify their risks. I think agriculture, together with new technologies, will represent new opportunities.”

READ MORE | The Big Bank Theory: South Africa’s Banks Of The Future

Odier says the interests of the firm are based on enhancing and not disrupting banking ecosystems that exist in the African environment.

“While Lombard Odier occupies over 2,500 people, we are still of a modest size as a financial institution. So we really want to focus on our existing client base and not disperse ourselves too much. We are not in the business of buying infrastructure banks and trying to take over. We are not in the business of competing with the local banks. We believe in teaming up, or perhaps diversifying the offering. I think when it comes to investing, we can be very useful to this market

“We believe the best institutions to serve the local market are the local ones. We are here to bring something else, which is basically, what is not offered here,” he says.

However, the continent, like any other, has challenges unique to it and thus, require nuances in resolving. It should not be discounted that, although Africa has made gains in catching up to the rest of the globe, a vast majority of its nations are still developing. 

READ MORE | Explainer: South Africa’s Central Bank – Ownership, Mandate and Independence

“The world in general is changing. You see it in everything in your life. You see it in the way you consume, the way you expect your employers to treat you and the way you think of prices. Unfortunately, you’ve seen it the way water becomes scarcer in some periods, you see also how difficult it is to produce electricity correctly, in some respects, and you see it in how climate change is affecting your life.

“All those elements are part of mega-trends we believe as a firm we could try to interpret quicker and better than some. We are transforming the way we invest to invest more sustainably. In South Africa, we want to be a leader in bringing this approach to investing in resources.

“Some say you have to have luxury to think this way, I say not doing it will create much bigger risks than doing it,” Odier says. 

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Billionaires

Meet The World’s 10 Youngest Billionaires In 2020

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PHOTO: JAMEL TOPPIN FOR FORBES, DESIGN BY FORBES

From makeup mogul Kylie Jenner to Hong Kong real estate heir Jonathan Kwok, these 10 billionaires are worth $15.9 billion combined.

Of the 2,095 billionaires in the world, only ten are 30 or younger. Together, this precocious bunch is worth $15.9 billion. They span the globe, hailing from the U.S., Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland and Norway.

Despite the global markets falling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, three people under 30 made the list for the first time this year. Pedro de Godoy Bueno, age 29, inherited assets from his billionaire father, Edson de Godoy Bueno, who died in 2017. Pedro’s fortune rose in the past year to an estimated $1.1 billion as stock of Brazilian laboratory services firm Diagnósticos da América SA tripled. The second new entrant is Lisa Draexlmaier, age 29, who owns and is co-CEO (with her father Fritz) of the holding company for German auto parts maker Fritz Draexlmaier Co & KG. Elizabeth Furtwaenger, 28, is now worth $1.2 billion after her father Hubert Burda gave her a 37.4% stake in the family’s media empire.

Just three of this elite cohort are self-made billionaires: Snap cofounder CEO Evan SpiegelJohn Collison of payments startup Stripe and, yes, makeup mogul Kylie Jenner. In November, she inked a deal to sell a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics to beauty giant Coty Inc. for $600 million. Jenner recently donated $1 million to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the hospital where she gave birth to daughter Stormi in 2018, to buy personal protective equipment such as masks and face shields.

Collison, born and raised in Limerick, Ireland, but now living in San Francisco, is the richest billionaire under 30, with a fortune of $3.2 billion. The value of his stake in privately held Stripe has nearly tripled in the past two years thanks to three nine-figure funding rounds. The most recent, a $250 million Series G in September, put Stripe’s valuation at $35 billion.

The seven others under 30 all inherited their wealth. Jonathan Kwok, 28, first became a billionaire in his own right after his father, Hong Kong property mogul Walter Kwok, passed away in 2018. Alexandra Andresen, now 23, has been a billionaire since she was 19 thanks to her stake in Ferd, the Norwegian investment company her father still runs.

Here are the 10 youngest members of the 2020 Billionaires list, starting with the youngest. Net worths were calculated using stock prices and exchange rates from March 18, 2020:

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KYLIE JENNER

AGE: 22

NET WORTH: $1 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: COSMETICS

Image by JAMEL TOPPIN FOR FORBES

The celebrity-turned-makeup-mogul is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire ever. In November, she inked a deal to sell a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics to beauty giant Coty Inc. for $600 million.

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ALEXANDRA ANDRESEN

AGE: 23

NET WORTH: $1.1 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: INVESTMENT FIRM

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KATHARINA ANDRESEN

AGE: 24

NET WORTH: $1.1 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: INVESTMENT FIRM

The Norwegian sisters each inherited 42% of the family-owned investment company Ferd in 2007. Their father Johan still runs Ferd and controls 70% of the voting rights via a dual-class share structure.

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GUSTAV MAGNAR WITZOE

AGE: 26

NET WORTH: $2.3 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: FISH FARMING

Witzoe owns nearly half of Salmar ASA, one of the world’s largest salmon producers, which is still run by his father. The Norwegian heir has dabbled in modeling as well as tech and real estate investing.

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ELIZABETH FURTWAENGER

AGE: 28

NET WORTH: $1.2 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: PUBLISHING

Furtwaenger and her older brother Jacob were each given a 37.4% stake in the family’s German media company by their father, Hubert Burda, who is no longer a billionaire. Burda Media’s titles include the German editions of Elle and Playboy. Furtwaenger and her brother Jacob serve on the board of directors.

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JONATHAN KWOK

AGE: 28

NET WORTH: $2 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: REAL ESTATE

Kwok, along with his older brother Geoffrey, inherited their late father Walter Kwok’s stake in Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong’s largest developer, in 2018. Shares of Hong Kong-listed SHKP have declined nearly 18% since the coronavirus outbreak at the start of the year.

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JOHN COLLISON

AGE: 29

NET WORTH: $3.2 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: STRIPE

Stripe, the payments company founded by John and his older brother Patrick, raised $250 million from investors at a $35 billion valuation in September 2019. John, born and raised near Limerick, Ireland, now lives in San Francisco, where Stripe is headquartered.

Image by JAMEL TOPPIN FOR FORBES
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EVAN SPIEGEL

AGE: 29

NET WORTH: $1.9 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: SNAP

The Snapchat cofounder is one of the youngest CEOs of a publicly-traded company in the world. After rallying in 2019, Snap stock is down 50% since the start of the year. Spiegel, who was born in the U.S., quietly became a dual American-French citizen in 2018, according to reports in the French press.

Evan Spiegel
Image by MICHAEL GRECO
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PEDRO DE GODOY BUENO

AGE: 29

NET WORTH: $1.1 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

A newcomer to the billionaire ranks, Pedro is the son of the late Edson de Godoy Bueno (d. 2017), once Brazil’s richest healthcare billionaire. Bueno is the CEO and largest shareholder of laboratory services firm Diagnósticos da América SA, which has seen its shares nearly triple over the past year.

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LISA DRAEXLMAIER

AGE: 29

NET WORTH: $1 BILLION

SOURCE OF WEALTH: AUTO PARTS

Draexlmaier and her father, Fritz, are co-CEOs of Fritz Draexlmaier Holdings GmbH, the holding company of the autoparts maker of the same name. Lisa, now the sole owner, joins the billionaires’ list for the first time.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include Elizabeth Furtwaenger.

Hayley C. Cuccinello, Forbes Staff, Billionaires

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Wealth

Jeff Bezos Is No Longer The Richest Person In The World After Amazon Stock Plunges

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Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos lost his title as the richest man in the world during after-hours trading on Thursday, after his ecommerce behemoth reported lackluster third-quarter earnings. 

Amazon shares fell 7% in after-hours trading, knocking Bezos’ fortune down to $103.9 billion. That puts him at number two among the world’s richest. The new number one: Microsoft cofounder and fellow Washington state resident Bill Gates, who is worth $105.7 billion. 

Bezos became the richest man in the world in 2018 and the first centibillionaire to ever appear on the The Forbes 400 that year with a net worth of $160 billion, ending Gates’ 24-year run as number one. 

READ MORE | Jeff Bezos Unloads Another $990 Million Worth Of Amazon Shares In Early August

But the Amazon chief executive’s net worth drop isn’t entirely due to the decline in Amazon shares. Bezos transferred a quarter of his Amazon stake to his ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos as part of their divorce settlement, which was finalized earlier this year. MacKenzie Bezos is worth $32.7 billion, and among the top twenty wealthiest people in the world. 

On Thursday afternoon, Amazon reported a 26% drop in net income in its third quarter, its first profit decline since 2017.  In after-hours trading, Amazon dropped nearly 9% to $1,624 per share in the 20 minutes after the market closed. It has since rebounded slightly, hovering at $1,657 per share at 7:30 p.m. ET

The company said it is investing heavily in logistics and delivery infrastructure, with the goal of making one-day shipping the norm for Amazon Prime members.

READ MORE | Jeff Bezos Sells About $1.8 Billion Worth Of Amazon Shares In Three Days

The company disclosed during its second quarter earnings call in July that it had spent “a little bit” more than the estimated $800 million that it has previously said it would invest in one-day shipping infrastructure.

The company declined to disclose how much it had spent on one-day shipping in the third quarter. But chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky did disclose Thursday that the company plans to spend $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter, presumably to finance the one-day shipping initiative. 

Gates, meanwhile, has been out of Microsoft since 2014 when he stepped down as chairman of the storied company, though he remains a board member. He has sold or given away the majority of his Microsoft stake and diversified his wealth over time. He is now the co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private charitable foundation in the world. 

Bill Gates debuted on Forbes’ first ever billionaire list in 1987 with a net worth of $1.25 billion. Bezos first joined The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1998, one year after Amazon went public, with a net worth of $1.6 billion. 

-Angel Au-Yeung; Forbes

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These Are The Biggest Givers On The Forbes 400

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This has been a year of record-setting in billionaire philanthropy. In September, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, owners of POM Wonderful and Fiji Water, pledged $750 million to the California Institute of Technology for environmental sustainability research.

In June, Blackstone cofounder Stephen Schwarzman donated $189 million to the University of Oxford—the largest single gift to the school since the Renaissance—to fund its work on humanities. The same month, Broadcom billionaire Henry Samueli pledged $100 million to UCLA’s engineering school, the largest gift ever to the department. 

Forbes tracks gifts and pledges like these as part of our ongoing coverage of charitable giving by the country’s richest people.

READ MORE | The World’s Most Generous Billionaires Outside Of The US

For the second year in a row, Forbes tracked the philanthropic giving of the richest 400 individuals in the U.S. and gave each member of The Forbes 400 list a philanthropy score. The score ranged from 1 to 5,  with 5 being the most philanthropic. List members for whom we could find no charitable giving information received an N.A. (not available).

Philanthropy Forbes 400
FORBES

Though the number of the biggest givers—those who scored a 5—stayed flat in 2019, those who received scores of 4 and 3 increased compared with a year ago.

The changes reflect two things: The country’s richest have gotten somewhat more generous, and Forbes had more information to work with this year. Some billionaires were willing to share information on charitable giving for the 2019 list who didn’t in 2018. As a result, four dozen people got higher scores this year than a year ago. 

This year, Warren Buffett led the list of top givers with $38.8 billion in lifetime giving, which is 32% of his net worth, and earned the top score of 5.

He was followed by last year’s biggest giver, Bill Gates, who has donated $38.5 billion so far. Two people who scored a 5 last year—Paul Allen and David Koch—passed away.

READ MORE: Forbes Africa | 8 Years And Growing

Billionaires like DreamWorks Pictures founder David Geffen and WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton moved up to the top score after each scored a 4 last year. According to the latest tax filings, Geffen gave $38 million to his foundation in 2017, which brought his lifetime giving to about $1 billion.

Acton and his wife Tegan, on the other hand, have been expanding their philanthropic network, Wildcard Giving, which they founded in 2014 after Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook. The couple has given away more than $1 billion to charitable causes.

2019 Forbes 400 Giving
FORBES

Forty-one billionaires, including Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings and software billionaire Philip “Terry” Ragon, got higher scores this year than last year. Some, like Stephen Schwarzman, earned a higher score thanks to giving in the past year.

Others scored higher because we were able to find more information about their lifetime giving, through new public documents or details provided to us by Forbes 400 members or their spokespeople. In September, a Los Angeles Times report revealed that B.

Wayne Hughes, cofounder of self-storage behemoth Public Storage, had anonymously donated about $400 million to the University of Southern California in his lifetime. Hughes, who scored a 2 last year, jumped up to a 4.

Private equity tycoon Robert F. Smith’s pledge in May to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College generated lots of headlines but did not end up changing his score because the gift wasn’t big enough to move him up a notch. In many cases, fortunes grew faster than lifetime philanthropic giving. 

READ MORE | Noëlla Coursaris Musunka The Trailblazer In The Congo

To come up with the information on which we based our score, Forbes reporters looked at tax filings for charitable foundations, annual statements, SEC filings and news about new gifts. When possible, we interviewed Forbes 400 members and executives from their foundations. Some Forbes 400 members said they have chosen to donate anonymously, citing religious or privacy concerns. 

Our score is based on total lifetime giving and what percent of their fortune members had given away. We weighted these two factors equally. Some individuals were then bumped up or down based on several other factors, including whether they had signed the Giving Pledge, whether they had pledged significant donations, how personally involved they were in their charitable giving, and how quickly and effectively their private foundations distributed dollars. We didn’t count pledges or announced gifts that have yet to be paid out, but we took commitment to philanthropy—or lack thereof—into account.

Forbes has been tracking the wealth of the richest Americans since 1982. “Some of [the members] told us to drop dead,” James Michaels, veteran editor of Forbes, told the New York Times in a 1982 story about the list’s debut. “They said they wanted no part of it, that they’d sue us.

This happens in reporting.” At times, our reporting on philanthropic giving received a similar response. “The new philanthropy ranking is fundamentally flawed, in that it is biased in favor of those who make their gifts widely known, and against donors who choose to make their charitable contributions anonymously,” one current Forbes 400 member (who did not wish to be named) wrote to us last year.

-Deniz Çam; Forbes

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