Rishi Sunak Net Worth

Rishi Sunak net worth – How wealthy is the former Chancellor?

In May 2022, Rishi Sunak made his debut on the Sunday Times Rich List. Sunak, alongside his heiress wife, Akshata Murty, were said to have a combined fortune of £730 million.

According to the Sunday Times List, Mr and Mrs Sunak are the 222nd wealthiest people in the UK. They were said to be twice as wealthy as Queen Elizabeth II, whose personal wealth was estimated at £350 million.

Sunak is the first serving frontline politician to make the Rich List since it was created in 1989. He is by far the wealthiest MP at Westminster, and can probably stake a claim to be the richest person ever to sit in the House of Commons.

Mr and Mrs Sunak have used their wealth to buy a five bedroom town house in London’s Kensington, alongside a large manor house in Mr Suank’s North Yorkshire constituency near the village of Kirby Sigston. The couple also own a property in Santa Monica, California and a further flat in central London. 

How did Rishi Sunak make his money?

Rishi Sunak had a financially comfortable upbringing in Southampton. His father was a doctor and his mother a pharmacist. Sunak was sent off to boarding school at the nearby Winchester College, where he was head boy.

Before becoming a Conservative MP in 2015, Sunak enjoyed a lucrative career in finance. Initially he was employed by the prestigious American investment bank Goldman Sachs. He later moved on to hedge fund management.  Back in 2010, he was a founding partner in the firm, Theleme Partners.

Sunak’s career in banking undoubtedly made the former UK Chancellor wealthy, but nothing along the scale required to appear within the Sunday Times Rich List.

Instead the bulk of Rishi Sunak‘s wealth comes through his marriage to Akshata Murty. The pair met when they were both studying for an MBA at Stanford University in the United States back in 2006.  Sunak was a Fulbright scholar at Stanford.

Ms Murty is the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire. Her father, NR Narayana Murty, co-founded the Indian technology firm, Infosys, in 1981. He is the sixth richest man in India.

According to various stock exchange disclosures, Akshata Murty, owns 0.91% of the shares in her father’s company, Infosys. In June 2022, Infosys was valued at $77.7 Billion, which placed her holding in the firm at some £572 million.

As well as running her own fashion label, Mrs Sunak is also the owner and director of a UK-based venture capital firm Catamaran Ventures UK Ltd.

Rishi Sunak’s wealth as a political issue

Throughout the covid pandemic, Rishi Sunak was amongst the most popular politicians in the United Kingdom.  The architect of the ‘furlough’ scheme was widely regarded as telegenic and straight talking. Unlike many politicians, he even developed something of a reputation for answering the question.

However in 2022, Sunak’s political fortunes appeared to have turned. Having attended a gathering in the Cabinet room where people ate cake and sang happy birthday to the prime minister, he was issued with a fixed penalty notice by the police.  Moreover, his financial affairs also started to come under greater media and political scrutiny.

Blind Trust

In April 2022, Sunak wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson to request an independent review of statements made around his finances.

After he was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury in July 2019, Sunak registered a blind trust that is thought to contain a multi-million-pound fortune.

Blind trusts are said to help ministers operate in a way that avoids potential conflicts of interest.  A blind trust allows them to retain their investments, but leaves them unaware of how and where the money is invested. Both Theresa May and Tony set up blind trusts to manage their financial interests during their respective stints at No 10.

Sunak first faced questions from political opponents in relation to whether any of the funds placed in his blind trust were held in offshore tax-havens.

There were then questions around the extent to which Sunak knew about the contents of the trust. Daniel Beizsley of the financial transparency pressure group, Spotlight on Corruption, told the Guardian, “Unless the trustee was given specific instructions to diversify the portfolio, then Sunak is fully aware of its contents. It’s difficult to see how this could absolve him of conflict of interest claims”.

Nonetheless, Mr Sunak appears to have received the ‘all clear’ in relation to his finances. In advice to the prime minister, the government’s ethics advisor Lord Geidt wrote: “I advise that the requirements of the ministerial code have been adhered to by the chancellor and that he has been assiduous in meeting his obligations and in engaging with this investigation”.

Akshata Murty – Non Dom Tax Status

Mr Sunak also came under political pressure after it was revealed that his wife was benefitting from non domiciled tax status.

Akshata Murty is entitled to non dom tax status as she is an Indian citizen. It is said that she plans to move back to her home country to care for her parents at a later date. India does not allow it citizens to hold the citizenship of another country simultaneously.

This non dom status, for which the Chancellor‘s wife will have paid £30,000 per year, reduces the amount of UK tax that a non domiciled person living in the UK has to pay on their income earned abroad. The BBC have suggested that in the previous year, Mrs Sunak’s dividends from Infosys amounted to £11.6 million.

In April 2022, Ms Murty promised to pay UK tax on her future income earned abroad. In a statement she said that did not want her non-dom status to be a “distraction” for her husband. She does though retain the non-dom status, which legally will substantially reduce her inheritance tax bill in the future.

Rishi Sunak has been unhappy with the coverage of his wife’s financial affairs, which he describes as ‘unfair’ for a private citizen. Instead he has argued that he should be the focus of attention, saying, “I’m an elected politician. So I know what I signed up for”.  Mr Sunak has even made the compairson between himself and the actor Will Smith, who reacted angrily to comments about his wife during the March 2022 Oscar ceremony.

Akshata Murty

Rishi Sunak Green Card

In the spring of 2022 it was also revealed that Rishi Sunak himself had only recently held a US green card.

A green card makes it easier for people to travel into America, and entitles the holder to permanent residence in the United States should they wish. Mr Sunak obtained the green card after studying in America. Green card holders have to file annual tax returns in the US.

Whilst Mr Sunak was perfectly legally entitled to possess a green card, opposition MPs questioned why he had kept the green card, whilst both being an MP and serving in the Cabinet. Prime minister, Boris Johnson, was born in the United States but renounced his US citizenship in 2017.

Mr Sunak gave up his Green card in late 2021 ahead of his first trip to the US as a government minister. His spokesperson said that Suank had discussed the appropriate course of action with the US authorities, and “At that point it was considered best to return his green card, which he did immediately.”

Rishi Sunak‘s wealth – Is it an issue for his political career?

Rishi Sunak had been UK Chancellor for almost two years before there was a more sustained interest in his financial affairs in the spring of 2022.

Although the increased interest in the net worth of Rishi Sunak undoubtedly dovetailed with his debut in the Sunday Times Rich List, it also came at a time when the UK was facing a ‘cost of living crisis‘. Soaring prices were in the then Chancellor‘s own words making things ‘tough’ for UK families.

Increased financial pressures were causing UK voters to become dissatisfied with the Chancellor. Polls in May 2022 now showed that 48% didn’t think the then Chancellor was doing well, with that view similarly shared by Conservative Party voters (49%).

There is no direct suggestion that focus on the Rishi Sunak net worth issue is behind his current fall in popularity.  Not everyone in the UK is opposed to people who have made money.  However there is no doubt that in the current financial climate, Sunak’s significant wealth, made it more difficult for him as Chancellor to appear as empathetic with ‘ordinary voters’ as he would undoubtedly like.