Sir Peter Wood
Rank 2017
Wood, 70, has created seven insurance businesses, the best known of which is Direct Line. Having made £50m from the operation, his next big payday came from the float of his Reigate-based Esure enterprise in 2013, selling £198m worth of stock. The shares fell last year when Esure demerged and floated the price comparison website GoCompare that it bought in 2014. Wood's stake in the former is now worth £268.7m and he has a separate holding in the latter valued at £118m. He has also branched out into property, taking a 50% share in specialist Surrey developer Royalton, and has an extensive personal portfolio including two estates worth $80m in Palm Beach, Florida. He was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours last year for services to UK industry and philanthropy. Adding the windfall from the GoCompare float raises him to £693m.