Mr Ratcliffe - previously described by the Rich List as publicity shy and having grown up on a council estate in Greater Manchester - has leapt up from 18th position last year after seeing his wealth rise by £15.3bn to £21.05bn in a single year.
The 11 billionaires, with a combined fortune of more than £16.2 billion, feature in the new edition of the Sunday Times Rich List, published on Sunday.
In second place were Sri and Gopi Hinduja whose personal wealth was valued at £20.64bn, up £4.44bn from a year ago. Their fortune jumped by £4.44 billion, with their India-based vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland and the Mumbai-based IndusInd Bank having a particularly successful year. Of the 1,000 people on...More news: Ex-Prem star Jlloyd Samuel, 37, dies in auto crash
But not everyone has had a fruitful year.
Retail magnate Sir Philip Green suffered the biggest decline in wealth to befall a British industrialist according to the newspaper, with his net worth falling by 28 per cent (£787 million) to £2 billion.
Financier Ernesto Bertarelli and his wife Kirsty saw the biggest decrease in wealth, losing £1.48 billion due to falls in Ernesto's pharmaceutical company stakes, the list's author said.More news: NIA court convicts 18 of organising SIMI camp in Kerala's Wagamon
"The recent volatility of global stock markets have provided opportunities for the City's richest hedgies to gild their wealth", Robert Watts, who compiles the Rich List said.
The paper has shared select rankings ahead of time, including a breakdown of the richest young entrepreneurs in Britain under the age of 30.
"Aristocrats and inherited wealth has been elbowed out of the list and replaced by an army of self-made entrepreneurs".More news: Cashier-less store coming to IL
But who is the richest hedge funder in the UK? "The Brits are perfectly capable of managing the Brits and don't need Brussels telling them how to manage things", he said. Gone are the days when old money and a small band of industries dominated the Sunday Times Rich List.
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