1 Man You've Never Heard of Who's Richer Than Warren Buffett

The world's third richest man has a fortune $6 billion more than Warren Buffett, and while he has built an empire from the ground up, he’s stayed out of the spotlight, and almost no one knows who he is.

Jan 25, 2014 at 1:32PM

Ask anyone who the world's richest person is, and you'll likely get a response of Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, or Warren Buffett. It turns out those are Nos. 1, 2, and 4, and the person ranking third will likely surprise you.

Buffett has a fortune hovering around $59 billion according to the latest estimates, and the mogul of Mexico, Carlos Slim, is worth an estimated $68.9 billion. Yet the man splitting the two is Amancio Ortega, whose net worth is said to be at $65.4 billion.


To put that in perspective, that's more than the reported fortunes of Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, combined ($63 billion):

Who is Amancio Ortega?
An article in Fortune once noted that Ortega is "difficult to know, impossible to interview, and incredibly secretive," so there's good reason that he's not a household name like some of the others who are among the richest people in the world. 

Yet interestingly enough, the clothing company he founded and still owns nearly 60% of is actually the world's largest clothing company. So while he may not be well-known, you may be wearing one of this products.

Zara By Paco Seoane

Source: Paco Seoane.

Ortega is Spain's wealthiest man, and he founded Inditex, which is the parent company of retailer Zara, almost 40 years ago. He began his career as a clothing manufacturer in the 1960s and early 1970s as he steadily grew his operation to include multiple factories. Then in 1975, the first Zara store was opened, and Ortega's empire has been growing ever since.

Yet despite the massive fortune he accumulated over the last five decades, Ortega has been notoriously content with avoiding the public spotlight, and the first photograph of him wasn't published until 1999.

The clothing empire
Inditex now has 6,249 stores across the globe, with more than 1,800 from its flagship Zara. It had 47 stores in the U.S at the end of October last year. In total, its empire spans more than 85 countries. In 2012, it had more than 120,000 employees and 15.9 billion euros (roughly $21.5 billion) in sales. Through the first nine months of 2013, it has seen sales grow by 8% after factoring out currency impacts. 

Zara By Aurelijus Valeisa

Source: Aurelijus Valeiša.

The company is said to have two simple rules: Ensure customers get what they want, and they get it fast. This mantra has led to astounding growth, as sales have grown on average by 11% annually since 2008. Even more astonishing is the reality that from 2009 to 2012, it averaged more than one store opening each day, opening 1,745 stores in 1,461 days.

This unearthly growth and success has led to the massive fortune that Ortega has amassed, yet it has been reported that he has remained modest, as he eats in the company's cafeteria and even wears the same thing to work each day. 

Unfortunately, investment advice and business tips from Ortega are few and far between, but if we can learn anything from him, it's that massive fortune doesn't always have to mean massive fame, and seeking to satisfy the customer first is always a great place to start.

One billionaire who is happy to share
While Oretga has shunned the spotlight, Warren Buffett has embraced it. In fact, while he has made billions through his investing, he wants you to be able to invest like him. Through the years, Buffett has offered up investing tips to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Now you can tap into the best of Warren Buffett's wisdom in a new special report from The Motley Fool. Click here now for a free copy of this invaluable report.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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