Why the decline?
The world's richest are also a lot poorer. Their collective net worth is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago. Their average net worth fell 23% to $3 billion. The last time the average was that low was in 2003.
Warren Buffett, last year's No. 1, saw his fortune decline $25 billion as shares of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) fell nearly 50% in 12 months, but he still managed to slip just one spot to No. 2. Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helú also lost $25 billion and dropped one spot to No. 3.
The biggest loser in the world this year, by dollars, was last year's biggest gainer. India's Anil Ambani lost $32 billion--76% of his fortune--as shares of his Reliance Communications, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital all collapsed.
China has 28, 27 in Moscow and there are 55 in New York.
After slipping in recent years, the U.S. is regaining its dominance as a repository of wealth. Americans account for 44% of the money and 45% of the list's slots, up seven and three percentage points from last year, respectively. Still, it has 110 fewer billionaires than a year ago.
Last year there were 39 American billionaire hedge fund managers; this year there are 28.
Worldwide, 80 of the 355 drop-offs from last year's list had fortunes derived from finance or investments.
Number one billionaire on the list? Bill Gates, Net Worth: $40 billion