Fascinating article in today’s WSJ on how London (England, not Ontario) has become a kind of theme park for ex-pat billionaires.
Of the U.K.’s 10 richest people, just three are originally from here, according to the Sunday Times newspaper’s annual list. The country’s two wealthiest individuals are the Indian-born chief executive of ArcelorMittal, Lakshmi Mittal, who paid $141 million for his London mansion, and Russian oil magnate Roman Abramovich. About 65% of houses sold in central London for $8 million or more last year were purchased by people born outside the U.K., estimates British real-estate company Savills PLC.
Behind the surge of money pouring into London is the globalization of wealth. As new multimillionaires are minted in Russia, India, the Middle East and Europe, many are coming to London, drawn by a combination of low taxes, historical ties and a geographical location that makes the city attractive for people doing business in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The U.K. taxes foreigners who claim their true home, or “domicile,” is elsewhere only on the money they earn in, or bring into, Britain. All assets elsewhere aren’t taxed. The U.S., by contrast, taxes residents on their world-wide income.