High net worth

2016 a tumultuous year for list of world’s wealthiest women

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX1FAYE)

Economic turmoil around the globe has led to some significant changes in the annual Forbes billionaire list for the women who populate it — and for those who no longer do. One way to maintain outsize wealth, if the 2016 edition of the Forbes list suggests, is to be in the candy business. Apparently, no matter how bad the global economy gets, people always have some disposable income to shell out on sweets, if we’re to glean anything from the makeup if this year’s list. Two of the top five wealthiest women in the world are candy heiresses. Jacqueline Mars is the the world’s third richest woman with a net worth of $23.4 billion, and she and her siblings, all of whom inherited their father’s Mars candy and pet food company, have little to do with the corporate behemoth that rolls in about $33 billion in revenue annually. Just behind Mars at fourth on the list is Maria Franca Fissolo of Italy, also a candy heiress. She’s worth $22.1 billion thanks to her late husband’s candy conglomerate the Ferrero Group, of which her son is now the CEO. Ranking just ahead of the candy heiresses is a Walmart heiress who no doubt sells mountains of candy, in addition to many other goods, by way of her family’s ubiquitous retail chain. Alice Walton comes in second on the Forbes list with a total net worth of 32.3 billion — down some $7.1 billion from last year because of a sharp decline in Walmart’s stock price in late 2015. It was a tumultuous year for many women on the list, some of whom fell off of it — and others who are making debut appearances. Walton’s $7.1 billion dollar loss kept her about $4 billion behind the world’s richest woman, who also had a “tough” fiscal year.

Read the full story and see the full list at Forbes.

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