NZ IT millionaires thin on the ground

National Business Review's annual Rich List has appeared with only one IT-related millionaire making the top 10 individuals.

National Business Review's annual Rich List has appeared with only one IT-related millionaire making the top 10 individuals.

Steve Outtrim has the number nine spot with an estimated $200 million minimum personal wealth.

Three out of seven on the newcomers list are IT-related. Outtrim is joined by Advantage Group chairman Evan Christian in the area of investment and e-commerce and Telemedia CEO Chris Jones in computer software.

Sir Angus Tait has dropped off the list this year after putting a board of trustees in charge of his company and stepping back from any direct stake in his empire.

The list covers 139 individuals and 36 families for a total minimum net worth of $11.2 billion. Of that total, only 11 entries worth $803 million can be attributed to any individual whose main source of wealth is listed as including an IT-related area, be it software development, technology, e-commerce or whatever.

Last year's IT list accounted for only $375 million, but didn't include the likes of Outtrim or Eric Watson - the bulk of Watson's money is from investment rather than technology.

This year sees Murray Haszard, creator of the Ghost disk-cloning software package, listed but NBR claims his money is derived from investments and property rather than software.

Also something of a problem is where to draw the line - should investors in telecommunications companies, like John Fernyhough who has put money into ISP Compass Net, be included in any list of IT millionaires, or should it be reserved for those whose money comes from IT in the first place?

Last year's big winner, the Todd family with over $1.8 billion, has divested itself of most IT-related stocks - mostly in the telecommunications sector.

Todd has sold its shares in Clear Communications and AAPT, now wholly-owned by Telecom, but has kept its holding in Sky TV and a small slice of e-commerce company eVentures.

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