Wealthy Australian Jews score a rich list trifecta

Photo:  Anthony Pratt … Australia's wealthiest man, according to the BRW Rich 200 list.

Photo: Anthony Pratt … Australia's wealthiest man, according to the BRW Rich 200 list.

AJN Staff

FOR the first time, Jewish businessmen have taken up the top three positions in the BRW Rich 200 list.

Despite the tough economic climate, the top three positions were taken by Jewish people Anthony Pratt ($4.3 billion), Frank Lowy ($4.2 billion) and Harry Triguboff ($3.66 billion).

Jewish families also took out the top three positions in the wealthiest family list Smorgon family ($2.2 billion), Liberman family ($1.8 billion) and Besen family ($1.73 billion). Rich 200 stalwart James Packer and last year’s leader Andrew Forrest dropped back following significant year-on-year losses in both the gaming industry and resources respectively.

Despite a $1.18 billion loss year-on-year, Pratt topped the list in Australia just months after inheriting the Visy cardboard empire from his father Richard. Richard Pratt was on the rich list for 25 years, but the title of BRW’s richest Australian eluded him.

Anthony assumed the role of executive chairman following Richard’s death on April 28. BRW reported Anthony now shares the ownership of the Visy empire with his mother Jeanne and sisters Heloise Waislitz and Fiona Geminder. A drop in retail spending and a decline in the price of Westfield Group’s shares saw Lowy drop an estimated $2 billion in wealth.

Despite the loss, the Rich 200 stalwart this year claimed second position. With the second highest gain on the list ($410 million), Sydney property tycoon Triguboff rounded out the top three. Contrary to most of his contemporaries, the depressed economy presented many opportunities for Triguboff.

With minimal debt BRW reported that Triguboff who has an aversion to debt following an experience during the 1973 recession was able to capitalise on other developers’ failed opportunities. This year’s BRW Rich 200 saw a $25 billion or an 18 per cent decline in wealth on last year, with the entry level dropping from $200 million to $150 million and the number of Australian billionaires falling from 38 to 28. NSW had the most (70) followed by Victoria (50).

Jews in the BRW Rich 200

1. Anthony Pratt and family

2. Frank Lowy

3. Harry Triguboff

7. John Gandel

18. Maurice Alter

27. Solomon Lew

47. David Goldberger and David Wieland

54. Naomi Milgrom

70. Nathan Werdiger

77. Jack Bendat

82. Charlotte Vidor and Ervin Vidor

103. Hilton Nathanson

105. Robert Magid

114. Iris Lustig-Moar and Max Moar

141. David Shein and family

142. David Mandie

145. Allan Moss

192. Philip Wolanski

197. Brian Sherman