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The Four Colombians on Forbes’ Rich List


Richest people in Colombia
Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, the richest person in Colombia who appears on the Forbes list. Credit: Analitico Colombia/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Forbes magazine has released its list of the world’s billionaires, and this time, four Colombian names have stood out in the prestigious list of the wealthiest individuals on the planet.

Although Colombia does not have the same number of billionaires as some global economic powers, these four individuals have accumulated vast fortunes over the course of their careers. Let’s explore who they are and how they have managed to reach the pinnacle of wealth in the South American country.

Decrease in Wealth in a Global Context

It is important to note that the global wealth of individuals on Forbes’ list has decreased compared to previous years. The total wealth of the 2,640 people included in the list is valued at $12.2 trillion dollars, which represents a decrease of $500 billion dollars compared to March 2022. This decline in wealth is part of a global trend, as Forbes points out that approximately half of the world’s billionaires have seen their fortunes decrease in the past year.

The Four Colombians on Forbes’ List

Here are the four Colombians featured on Forbes’ list and an overview of their fortunes and achievements:

Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo (Rank 397): With an estimated fortune of $6.4 billion dollars in 2023, Sarmiento Angulo is a prominent figure in Colombia’s financial sector.

He is known for controlling approximately one-third of the banks in the country through Grupo Aval. Additionally, he has made key investments, such as acquiring the newspaper El Tiempo in 2012 and constructing the first Grand Hyatt in Bogota, which opened in 2018.

David Velez and Family (Rank 611): David Velez, co-founder and CEO of Nubank, has achieved an impressive consolidation of his company, which has reached 35 million customers in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

His fortune decreased from $6.5 billion dollars in 2022 to $4.5 billion in 2023. Velez founded Nubank after noticing that five Brazilian banks controlled 80% of the market and charged high fees for basic financial products.

Beatriz Davila de Santo Domingo (Rank 787): Beatriz Davila de Santo Domingo, widow of Julio Mario Santo Domingo, has seen her fortune increase to $3.6 billion dollars in 2023, compared to $3.5 biillion in 2022.

She controls more than one-third of the Santo Domingo family’s holdings, including shares in Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer.

Jaime Gilinski (Rank 787): Jaime Gilinski, a banker from Cali, has experienced a decrease in his fortune from $4.2 billion dollars in 2022 to $3.6 billion in 2023.

He has built one of the largest banking empires in Latin America through strategic mergers and acquisitions. In the past year, Gilinski acquired significant portions of Grupo Nutresa and Grupo Sura’s shares.

A Brief Comparison with Economic Powerhouses

It’s important to note that, compared to the three leading economic powerhouses topping Forbes’ list, the United States, China, and India, Colombia has a significantly smaller number of billionaires. The United States leads with 735 people on the list and a collective wealth of $4.5 trillion dollars, while China, including Hong Kong and Macau, has 562 billionaires and a total wealth of $2 trillion dollars. In contrast, India has 169 billionaires with an estimated wealth of $675 billion dollars.

Reflecting a Global Trend

In a global context where the fortunes of the wealthiest individuals can fluctuate significantly due to various reasons, the changes in the wealth of these four Colombians reflect a trend observed worldwide. Forbes notes that around 254 people on the billionaires’ list lost their billionaire status in the past year, highlighting the volatility of wealth in the modern era.

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