Presidency hurting Trump's net worth: Forbes

NEW YORK • US President Donald Trump's net worth has flatlined at US$3.1 billion (S$4.3 billion), but he has slid down a Forbes ranking of billionaires as the magazine believes his White House stint is harming the Trump brand.

Mr Trump's ranking dropped to No. 259 on the list of Forbes' wealthiest 400 billionaires released on Wednesday, down from No. 248 last year.

In 2015, the year that Mr Trump announced his then improbable run for the presidency, Forbes valued his net worth at US$4.5 billion.

Forbes attributes his declining wealth to deeper reporting about his assets, decline in bricks-and-mortar retail, slowdown in real estate, particularly in the luxury sector, and how being president affects the brand.

While he built much of his fortune on lending his name to projects he does not always own, a Forbes investigation says the strategy is backfiring, with his name no longer synonymous with luxury but divisiveness, driving away business partners and potential apartment buyers.

Nevertheless, there is a gain in value of property that he does own, including his Trump Tower penthouse, his personal private jet and Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, dubbed the Winter White House, Forbes believes.

Before taking office, Mr Trump placed his business interests in a trust managed by his adult sons Don Jr and Eric, and veteran Trump Organisation executive Allen Weisselberg.

He refused multiple calls to divest fully, leading to ongoing accusations of conflict of interest.

Forbes calculated that if Mr Trump had liquidated, paid capital gains tax on his fortune and created a blind trust to invest everything in the booming stock market, he would now be US$500 million richer.

Amazon's Mr Jeff Bezos, whose fortune jumped US$78.5 billion in one year, tops the Forbes list this year, with a net worth of US$160 billion.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who held the No. 1 spot for 24 consecutive years, is ranked No. 2 at US$97 billion.

Forbes said the 400 on the list have a record-breaking combined net worth of US$2.9 trillion, up from US$2.7 trillion last year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2018, with the headline 'Presidency hurting Trump's net worth: Forbes'. Print Edition | Subscribe