Forbes Rich List is a must read no matter what level of the food chain you are at. One of the most interesting new entries in this year’s list is a young 19 year old professional dressage rider from Norway called Alexandra Andresen – she is the youngest billionaire on the Forbes List with a fortune of $1.2 billion (€1,071 million).
Of the 1,810 people on the list, she is ranked 1,476th. Aged 11, she spent a year at Forres Sandle Manor boarding school in the Hampshire town of Fordingbridge with her sister Katharina – now 20, and the second youngest person on the list. The third youngest person on the list – Gustav Magnar Witzoe, 22 – is interestingly also Norwegian.
“Their fortune is all inherited, but it is remarkable that the three youngest billionaires on the list are all Norwegian,” said Kerry Dolan, assistant managing editor at Forbes.
The number of billionaires fell only in the MENA and Americas regions
Number of billionaires in each region
|Americas (not inc. US)||140||101|
She said that in Scandinavian culture, fortunes were often handed over to the younger generation earlier than in other countries, as a way of engaging the young in the family business. There were also, she suspected, tax reasons for the transfer of cash. Miss Andresen is a scion of a family which made its fortune through tobacco. In 1849 her great, great, great grandfather founded what was to become Norway’s leading cigarette producer.
In 2005, however, the family sold the company for ethical reasons, netting $500 million. Her elders invested the money wisely, seeking out opportunities in property, private equity and hedge funds, said Ms Dolan. Her father, Johan H Andresen, in 2007 transferred over 80 per cent of his shares in his investment company Ferd Holding over to his daughters.
On their return though, they studied at their local Oslo state school and their father still insists that they buy all their cars second-hand. “I actually save all the time, I have always done,” said Alexandra in an interview last year with the Ferd’s corporate magazine. “I save when I get my weekly allowance, and I save the cash prizes I win in competitions or if I get money as a gift for my birthday. It means I can buy myself things I really want, like a bag or a pair of shoes, without having to ask mum or dad for money.”
But the sisters live deliberately low-key lives. “There are both pros and cons of being in the family I have,” said Katharina. “There is a lot of pressure and awkward questions. Our name is so associated with money that is always the subject of questions.” She told how, during a lunch break at her primary school in Majorstuen, a wealthy Oslo suburb, her school mates looked over and saw she had 15,000 kroner (€ 1,540) in her account.
“When the boys saw that they were shocked,” she said. “It has been important for me when I get to know new people, so that they see me and not the money. I have to see how the person is before I let them get close to me.”
Alexandra lives in Germany, where she competes at international level dressage competitions – winning medals in the European Young Riders’ championships in 2013 and 2014 and has achieved international acclaim with her equestrianism, a passion she inherited from her mother Kristin at just three years old, riding tiny Shetland ponies in Oslo’s Kongsgarden park.
She won bronze at the 2013 European Junior Riders Championships in Compiegne, France, and silver at the 2014 European Junior Riders Championships in Arezzo, Italy on her stallion Belamour.