Thursday 22 February 2018

Explained: Have Ryanair's O'Leary and the world's richest 400 lost big in Brexit market rout?

Michael O'Leary; Credit Simon Calder
Michael O'Leary; Credit Simon Calder business desk

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has unleashed turmoil across global stock markets and at some cost to many of the world’s richest people.

Brexit-related losses of the world’s 400 richest people amounted to an eye- watering $USD127.4bn (€114.8bn) in a single day, Bloomberg estimated earlier this week.

Europe-focused Ryanair was one of the Irish stocks worst hit in the stock market slump.

Read more: Charlie Weston: What Brexit means for your pocket, pension and getting work in Britain

And Ryanair’s Michael O’ Leary lost over €200m off the value of his shares in the airline having seen his 3.8pc stake fall 13pc since the Brexit vote  - although shares are recovering today.

However, it is important to differentiate between a paper loss and an actual loss - the latter would only be incurred if the shares are sold.

Read more: New Brexit blow as Fitch downgrades Britain's credit rating

So while the global fall in share prices has theoretically hit the fortunes of Mr O'Leary and other bosses of Irish public companies, the reality is that the losses are notional as opposed to actual.

Other chief executive who took a hit on the paper value of their shares included building materials firm Kingspan's chief executive Eugene Murtagh - building firms were also badly hit by the market turmoil.

Read more: Nigel Farage jeered and booed as he tells European Parliament: 'You're not laughing now'


The significant drop in the pound means pensions will be worth less when converted into euro.

Shares in UK banks have been some of the hardest hit since the vote result, with trading on shares in Barclays and RBS temporarily suspended yesterday. British savings are covered by a protection scheme up to the value of €75,000 per financial institution.

The loss in pension values is only an issue if you are close to retirement.

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