Money & Power

How Would Filipino Billionaires Fare if They Were Part of Forbes' List of Richest People in America?

Henry Sy Sr. would land on the 25th spot while John Gokongwei Jr. would be 97th in the U.S. rankings.

Forbes magazine released the 2017 Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America in October. Bill Gates led the 36th edition of the annual list with a net worth of $89 billion, followed by Jeff Bezos with $81.5 billion.

The minimum net worth cutoff for the Forbes 400 has risen to $2 billion this year. Still, 10 Philippine billionaires, out of the 50 who made it to the Forbes’ Philippines rich list in August, have a net worth of at least $2 billion, and would have easily made it to the US wealth list.

So, how would the Philippines’ richest tycoons fare if their fortunes were stacked up against those of the richest US residents?

The Philippines' richest man, Henry Sy Sr., would only come in at the 25th spot. Sy has a net worth of $18 billion according to Forbes magazine, which comes from his diversified conglomerate. Sy is the chairman of SM Investments Corporation, a holding firm he founded in 1960 that is involved with shopping mall development and management, retail, real estate development, banking and tourism.

Sy’s total wealth is comparable to that of James Simons, an American mathematician and hedge fund manager. Unlike Sy, Simons’ fortune does not come from a diversified business but from an investment management firm called Renaissance Technologies. He established this in 1982, 22 years after Sy started SM.

Likewise, Philippines’ second richest John Gokongwei Jr. of JG Summit Holdings would have only been ranked 97th in the Forbes 400. Similar to Wal-Mart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke, Gokongwei’s net worth is $5.5 billion. Gokongwei would have surpassed Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway.

See the infographic on this page for similar comparisons for the eight other Philippine tycoons.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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