Billionaire Rankings: Bloomberg Launches Daily List of the World’s Richest People

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Bloomberg News

Bloomberg Billionaires Index on March 5, 2012, the day of its launch

From batting averages to polling numbers, we live in an age of real-time data. Now, thanks to Bloomberg News, you can add billionaires’ net worth to the list of statistics you can look up day to day. Bloomberg News launched its Bloomberg Billionaires Index yesterday, a daily ranking of the world’s 20 wealthiest people. The list will be updated daily based on “market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting.” It will also include a yearly and daily accounting of how much these tycoons’ holdings have fluctuated.

Let’s just say these numbers trump whatever you won or lost at the roulette table in Atlantic City, N.J., last weekend. On the day of its launch, the index estimated that the world’s wealthiest man, Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim Helú, lost nearly half a billion dollars in the previous 24 hours. The No. 2 richest man, Bill Gates, saw his net worth tumble by $102 million in the same time span.

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Most of the news this year, however, appears to be good for the world’s richest — perhaps a sign of a perkier global economy in 2012. Seventeen of the 20 billionaires on the list have added to their net worth year-to-date. The only three losers were Walmart heirs Christy, Jim and Samuel Robson Walton, likely reflecting the fact that Walmart stock has lost ground in 2012.

Charting the wealth of the world’s most outrageously wealthy used to be strictly the purview of Forbes magazine, whose own billionaires list is published each March and is due out later today Wednesday. But this year the magazine has been scooped by the upstart Bloomberg News organization, whose daily list attempts to make the Forbes version obsolete. According to the New York Post, however, Forbes will come out with its own daily rankings later this month.

Bloomberg fired the opening salvo in this war for wealth coverage last winter when it announced it would be producing its own global rich list and was hiring Forbes magazine veteran Matthew Miller to head up the project. Miller spent seven years at Forbes and was the editor of the America-focused Forbes 400, as well as the co-editor of the Forbes World’s Billionaires list.

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One blind spot to Bloomberg’s coverage, however, will be the company’s majority owner and erstwhile CEO, and New York City’s mayor. According to Forbes, Michael Bloomberg is America’s 12th richest man and the world’s 30th. He won’t be appearing in any of Bloomberg News’ coverage, however, as it is the company’s editorial policy not to cover Bloomberg LP.