Bill Gates 'Gave Away' Richest Man Title - Experts

Microsoft founder Bill Gates placed second on Forbes magazine’s 2010 list of the world’s top billionaires and is expected to remain in the same rank in the magazine’s 2011 list. Experts are noting that Gates did not lose the title of being the world’s richest man, he gave it away through his philanthropic work.

Gates, U.S. investor Warren Buffett and Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, who was last year’s richest man, are expected to be 2011’s top three billionaire. Gates would have held his position last year and also top this year’s list if he did not give away more than one-third of his wealth through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, experts say.

“It wouldn’t be a competition,” Reuters quotes David Lincoln, director of global valuations at wealth research firm Wealth-X. “(Gates) would have a comfortable margin if he had never discovered philanthropy.”

Lincoln said Gates is currently worth approximately $49 billion but would have been worth $88 billion had he not given away any of his money. Slim’s fortune is estimated to be at $60 billion this year, while Buffett is worth around $47 billion.

Gates and Buffett have both pledged to spend up to 50 percent of their wealth on philanthropic activities during their lifetimes. They have also launched an initiative named The Giving Pledge to encourage other billionaires in the United States, and recently in China and India, to do the same.

>> Bill Gates Targets Extending Giving Pledge Scheme Toward India

>> Gates, Buffett’s Giving Pledge Attracts More US Billionaires

>> Gates, Buffett ‘Amazed’ by China’s Interest in Philanthropy

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.