The personal fortunes of the 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain have tumbled by more than 50% in 2008, according to the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List.

Among the super rich, approximately $300 billion in wealth has evaporated this year, as assets have fallen from about $598 billion to $289 billion. Some hedge fund and property firms reportedly lost as much as 90% of their assets.

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who had a fortune of approximately $40 billion last year, has seen his fortune slashed to about $16 billion in a year's time. His family stake in steel company ArcelorMittal soared from $36 billion at the start of the year to $48 billion over the summer, but has sense plummeted to about $14 billion.

"He is hardly immune to things, be he is not affected by them the way most people might be," said his spokesman.

Sportswear tycoon Sir Tom Hunter lost his billionaire status when his investments in homebuilders and retirement home specialists turned south as the real estate bubble popped.

"I am tightening my belt like everybody else," he told the Times. "Yes, I still have the private jet but we have sold our house in the south of France. Everybody is looking at their costs and everybody I speak to is more pessimistic about 2009. I haven't really met anyone who is immune to all this."

Sir Richard Branson has lost value on every sector of his Virgin group, including Virgin Media shares, which are a quarter of their value a year ago.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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